The historic woodland and orchard sites of Devon.
Fruit trees as integral to modern farming practice.
This is Tree Week – and as part of that, Ed Dolphin of the Sidmouth Arboretum looked at the ancient woodland of Devon and the Sid Valley:
In the course of his talk, he mentioned that much of the historic ‘woodland’ in the Valley was in fact orchard – which produced large amounts of cider, especially for the county’s seafaring folk, but also farm labourers:
As the county council says:
Historic woodland and orchard sites across Devon are shown on late C19th Ordnance Survey and former orchards are identified on the Devon HLC.
It just so happens that CAMRA has declared May ‘Cider Month’:
The month of May was chosen because it is when the orchards come into bloom and fruit begins to set which will then be harvested. It is when cider and perry production in the previous year reaches maturity and can start being enjoyed. It is also a time for celebration of the fruits of cider makers labour!
And there are indeed some beautiful apple (and just a bit earlier, pear) trees in bloom in the Valley – as with this snap taken near the Higher Coombe Farm B and B at Tipton St John:
There are also the apple trees of the Knapp Nature Reserve – as celebrated in this piece from 2011, the year the Sidmouth Arboretum was established:
Meanwhile, the Town Council is committed to planting more apple trees:
And there is a trend to seeing fruit trees as integral to modern farming practice:
Finally, a piece from last May takes us to the Tamar Valley: