TCTOP – Wheatcroft Orchard
Wheatcroft is a small farmstead orchard attached to a house which has origins in 1675. The orchard is located on a steep north-west slope and consists of 10 trees, 4 apples, 3 damsons, 2 cherries and a plum. The trees are of varying ages, condition and all require gradual reshaping.
The sward is rather tussocky and patchy with grassy component and stumps indicating former locations of additional orchard trees. The sward does however have a high proportion of herbs including Hogweed, Broad leaved dock, Dandelion, Creeping Buttercup, Ground ivy, Primroses, Red Campion (Pictured), Creeping Jenny and St John’s Wort.
The surrounding hedges are mostly natural in composition with a high diversity of native species such as Holly, Hazel, Hawthorn, Bramble, Dog Rose, Ivy, Damson and White Willow.
Wrens have been seen nesting on the site and all three species of woodpecker have also been seen – Lesser spotted woodpecker, Greater spotted woodpecker and Green woodpecker. The orchard shows good potential for nectaring, nesting and hibernating bees. Colonies of solitary bee’s nest holes exist in the bare soil.