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Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group

In the early 1900s, Suffolk had more than 6,000 orchards. The 3-year Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group (STOG) project (2012-2015) aimed to record how many of these remained, assess their potential for restoration and disseminate information about their value. The project, led by Paul Read, was an informal group that became a formal association to manage Heritage Lottery Fund monies granted for a survey of Suffolk orchards. It grew from a previous orchard survey project initiated by the former Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership.

Orchards East

Orchards East was a Heritage Fund project led by the University of East Anglia and managed by two co-chairs, Professor Tom Williamson (UEA Dept of History) and Paul Read (chair of Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group); a project manager, initially Rachel Savage and then Howard Jones; and Gen Broad, who was, at the time, Biodiversity Officer at Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service.

An environmental and cultural project covering six counties in the East of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, it was funded by the Heritage Lottery fund from 2018 – 2021, and based in the School of History at UEA. It was devoted to discovering and understanding the past, present and future of orchards in Eastern England. The project was built on the work of Suffolk Traditional Orchards Group and other partners, including the East of England Apples and Orchards Project. A collaborative project, it worked with existing county orchard groups, other interested organisations and volunteers and orchard owners.

Visit the OE website to find out more

Aims

To record and protect old orchard sites; to promote the new planting of traditional orchard fruit and nut varieties; and to preserve and disseminate the practice, cultural and historical value of orchards through education and publication.

Activities

  • Identifying and recording old and modern orchards managed in a traditional manner in Suffolk.
  • Researching and recording the history, landscape, practice and culture of traditional fruit and nut cultivation in Suffolk through archival and oral research.
  • Assisting in the restoration and replanting of suitable orchard sites in Suffolk.
  • Establishing county collections of traditional Suffolk fruit and nut varieties in new or restored traditional orchards
  • Engaging in activities that disseminate the history and culture of orchards in Suffolk through publications and education.

Orchards East Forum

The volunteer-run Orchards East Forum formed in 2021 is a legacy of Orchards East. Further information can be found on the Orchards East Forum website


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