Restoring London's lost orchards

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There was a time when London and its suburbs were crammed with orchards providing fresh fruit for the population

Thanks to a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The London Orchard Project has a two year plan to restore some of the surviving trees and sites to produce fruit for the future.

Using old maps of London before its growth into an overcrowded, built-up and industrialised city, 18 hectares of former orchards, especially around the River Lea and in West London, have been identified.

Around 400 green fingered Londoners will be targeting these sites for restoration to assess their biodiversity value, condition and the fruit varieties to be found.

Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London Sue Bowers said: “Traditional orchards are equally important for London’s biodiversity and its history. This project brings together both aspects and gives local communities quite literally a taste for their heritage.”

Carina Millstone from the London Orchard Project, said: “We are very excited with our new ‘Rediscovering London’s Lost Orchard Heritage programme.’ Over the coming months, we will be calling on Londoners to help us identify and restore orchards in their local area, so drop us a line if you would like to be kept updated and get involved.”

A range of special events including traditional juicing and fruit preserving and even cider making workshops will be held along with special fruit exhibitions of native London varieties.

To contact the London Orchard Project, email heritage@thelondonorchardproject.org

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