Orchards were once a common site throughout Exmoor, particularly on lower lying areas such as the Vale of Porlock or Aville Valley. Traditionally orchards would have surrounded farmsteads and villages, but over the last century 80% of Exmoor’s orchards have been lost due to development, neglect or change in landuse.
In recent years, orchards have been recognised for the many benefits they offer, such as:
Wildlife habitat- orchards have been included in the 2007 UK Biodiversity Action Plan (www.ukbap.org.uk) due to the number of species they support and the links they provide with other habitats.
Attractive groups of amenity trees with benefits for individuals and communities alike.
For local provenance varieties- many with long historical associations with certain places.
For the generation of local produce, such as cider, juices and preserves, and associated products, such as honey.
Exmoor National Park Authority is able to offer advice on the management of orchards. Those interested in orchards should also contact Orchards Live for advice, training and news.