We are very pleased to announce that PLANT has joined forces with Orchard Revival to carry out field surveys for the National Orchard Inventory for Scotland in the Tayport area this Autumn. And we will need some help from you to do this!
Traditional orchards form an important part of Scottish heritage as well as providing highly biodiverse habitats. And yet they have been in decline for decades.
Thankfully, the last 20 years has seen a resurgence of interest in orchards and locally produced fruit, with many orchard projects springing up around across the UK. We do not have to look too far for evidence of this – our own annual apple juicing celebrations at Fruit Fest in October and the Fruit Tree Walk plantings we started along Scotscraig Drive are perfect examples of this locally!
The National Inventory project aims to map the locations and survey the condition of all existing orchards in Scotland, through collaborations with local community groups. This information will help with better planning and targeting of orchard revival activities, both nationally and locally. For example, the knowledge of garden orchards around Tayport will help us build on Fruit Fest’s success to scale up Tayport’s apple juice production and tackle apple waste and reduce our carbon footprint this year. In the future, we may be able to develop projects supporting our garden orchard owners through training or tree-pruning services.
The Inventory’s initial desk study has identified over 1,700 orchards in Scotland, and 186 of them are in Fife. This makes Fife second only to Clyde Valley area, the Scottish Fruit Basket of old.
PLANT is now looking for volunteers to help confirm locations and condition of the orchards in our allocated area (shown on the maps above). We will also be adding new orchards to the map – we already know of many such hidden gems in Tayport gardens which did not make it into the desk study!
We are planning a training session by the end of September, and the surveys should be completed by the end of the year. Many of the local gardens can be surveyed in the first half of October, during apple collection for the Fruit Fest which is happening on the 15th.
Can you tell your apples from your pears? Do you have spare several hours over the next 3 months? Do you like chatting to people about their gardens? Curious about the hidden orchards in Tayport and beyond? You are a perfect candidate for a field surveyor! To register your interest, get in touch with our Local Inventory Facilitator, Kaska Hempel using email: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your contact details with Jenny, our Volunteer Coordinator, at the Community Garden.
We would also like to hear from you if you have an orchard of 5 or more fruit trees in your garden and want it to be included in the Inventory survey. Please fill in an online form here or get in touch with Kaska directly.