£50,000 grant to revive Suffolk's old orchards

A lottery grant of nearly £50,000 will fund a survey of Suffolk's old orchards and put in place measures to preserve what remains of them.

The money will pay for a team of conservationists and volunteers with the Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group (STOG) to survey at least 700 sites over a three-year period.

Early 20th century maps show more than 6,000 orchards in the county, though it is estimated that only a sixth remain, many as fragments.

The project will involve restoration work on remaining orchards, and the planting of up to 20 new ones. Funding will also cover the preparation of a book and online materials on the county's fruit and nut growing heritage, and will pay for guidance materials for other groups interested in establishing their own orchards.

STOG chairman Paul Read said: "Orchards are a long established ingredient of the farmed landscape throughout Great Britain and they vary widely in form and appearance between regions and counties.

"In Suffolk their contribution to the landscape and culture depends upon the tall tree forms as well as the species and varieties of fruit. So one important component of our project is to train volunteers to propagate trees for planting in both restored and new traditional orchards."

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