How many orchards are in Herefordshire?
The project looked at six of more than 3,000 orchards in Herefordshire, chosen to represent different types and characteristics of orchards found in the County.
We funded the digitisation of the Millennium Map Phase 1 survey work for orchards in Herefordshire which now identifies the location and type of each orchard, creating a contemporary record of their extent as we entered the 21st century. This shows 5,500 hectares of orchards and over 3,000 orchard 'shapes' - of which the majority are traditional orchards with an average area of one hectare, and 710 bush with an average area of four hectares.
Herefordshire now has more orchards than any other county in the UK, and about 16% of the total orchard area in England.
However, only 2.5% of land in Herefordshire is now orchards, a far cry from 1664 when John Evelyn said "Herefordshire has become in a manner an entire orchard".
In 1936 the Dudley Stamp survey of the Land of Britain found 9,100 hectares of orchard in Herefordshire - so there has been a 40% decline in the last 70 years. But in a similar time frame, orchards in parts of Kent, Devon and Wales have all seen a 90% decline.