Tree lovers urged to find their local orchard

Wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling on the public to visit community orchards to help preserve the natural habitat for wildlife and protect against further decline. 

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PTES has identified over 35,000 traditional orchards remaining in England and more than 7,000 in Wales. 

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However, it has also found that 90% of traditional orchards have been lost since the 1950s, with 48% of the orchards surveyed in England and 35% of orchards in Wales found to be in declining condition.

To support the initiative, the charity has launched an interactive community orchard map that lists around 400 community orchard groups across the UK.

Using the new interactive map, people who are already running a community orchard can promote their ongoing work and recruit volunteers for apple picking, tree planting, pruning parties and pressing events at orchards across the country.

Steve Oram, Orchard Biodiversity Officer at PTES, said: “Traditional orchards are made up of several different habitats, such as woodland, hedgerow and meadow grassland, and are home to a range of wildlife, including bats, birds, insects and plant life. 

Orchards offer habitat stability which is so crucial for much of our wildlife, yet this is sadly becoming so rare. It’s essential that this unique habitat is preserved, and PTES hopes that the community orchard map, alongside our other ongoing orchard conservation work, will help to do this.”

To find your nearest community orchard, discover how to set one up in your area, or to add your existing community orchard to PTES’ interactive map, visit: www.ptes.org/community-orchards

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Image: Apple orchard in County Armagh, Northern Ireland/Credit: Getty