TCTOP – Chadbury House Orchard
The orchard at Chadbury House probably owes its origins to the railway and WW1 when fruit growing and preserving did much to help with food shortages. Small holders and market gardeners were encourage to grow plums, in particular, and many of the orchards in the Vale were established at this time.
Chadbury House orchards was probably one such orchard and once sat amongst many like it. Now it is one of just a few left in this area and its owners are keen to keep it in good health. This is a plum orchard, whose veteran trees are wonderful for wildlife but which still crop each summer.
The owners have been active in clearing the brambles and undergrowth and TCTOP volunteers have carried out renovation pruning on the old trees. We have also carried out a wildlife survey which showed that many of the hollows in the trees are full of Noble Chafer frass, a real thrill for the ecologists.
Our volunteers have also been active in gapping up the orchard. Earlier in the year we planted out a mix of new trees – all of local varieties, including some apples to diversify the crop – there are only so many plums which you can use ! Our challenge now is to keep the deer out over the winter.