Wychavon now boasts country's only complete collection of Worcestershire apple trees - The Evesham Observer

Wychavon now boasts country's only complete collection of Worcestershire apple trees

Evesham Editorial 29th Jan, 2024 Updated: 29th Jan, 2024   0

AN HISTORIC Wychavon orchard is now home to every single variety of Worcestershire apple tree as a recent celebratory planting completed the collection.

Councillor Robert Raphael, chairman of Wychavon District Council, visited Naunton Court Orchard in Naunton Beauchamp to plant a Blenheim Red apple tree with the support of ward councillor, Linda Robinson.

The planting marked 25 years of Vale Landscape Heritage Trust, which owns the site, as well as 20 years of their partnership with Severn Waste Services and 50 years of Wychavon.

The historic orchard was bought by the Trust nine years ago and stands on a ridge and furrow field that has existed for at least 600 years. It would have originally provided food for the owners and residents of nearby Naunton Court.

The Blenheim Red apple tree, discovered in Welland near Malvern was the 32nd and final Worcestershire variety needed, completing the only known collection in the country.

Other varities include the Martin Nonpareil, which has its origins in the village of Martin Hussingtree.

Since the Trust took on the site, about 120 new trees have been planted over the years. Through careful management of the site, it is now becoming a thriving biodiversity habitat.

Dead trees are left in place and are now home to several rare insects which depend on deadwood including the rare Noble Chafer beetle and nationally scarce red-belted clearwing moth.

Some of the older trees boast plenty of mistletoe, which as well as traditionally being used to kiss under at Christmas, is also home to several rare bugs and other insects.

Coun Raphael said:

“Nationally we have lost 85% of our orchards since the Second World War, so work like this is vital to preserve our heritage and support our wildlife so it can grow and thrive once again.

“Congratulations to everyone involved with Vale Landscape Heritage Trust on 25 years of success and all the best for the future.”

Gary Farmer, manager of the Vale Landscape Heritage Trust, said:

“This is a very fitting way to celebrate the Trust’s partnership with Severn Waste Services and Wychavon’s 50th Anniversary.

“Between us, we are leaving a living legacy which will benefit people and wildlife now and for generations to come.”

The visit was part of Coun Raphael’s tour of the district to celebrate Wychavon’s 50th anniversary.

The aim is to visit every parish in Wychavon by April.

Visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/fifty to find out more.

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