Link to the two county Orchard Centres
- The Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT) aims to conserve, promote and celebrate traditional orchards in Gloucestershire and, for the last fifteen years, has helped to reverse the huge loss of traditional orchards seen in the county.
- We have, through a combination of good fortune and extreme generosity on the part of our membership and others, acquired two ancient traditional orchards, totalling 20 acres. This will become a wonderful community project, with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Funded Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project (TCTOP).
- We continue in our outreach of training and education, through the two county Orchard Centres and at several shows, Apple, Pear & Plum Days, informing and advising hundreds of orchard enthusiasts, community groups and schools each year.
- We work very closely with the National Perry Pear Centre/Hartpury Heritage Trust. We liaise with neighbouring and regional orchard groups; especially the Marcher Apple Network, Vale Landscape Heritage Trust (Worcestershire), TCTOP, Natural England (Countryside Stewardship) and Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (latter with orchard surveys).
- GOT, in conjunction with Hartpury Heritage Trust and Heritage Lottery Funding, recently published Charles Martell's excellent “Pears of Gloucestershire & Perry Pears of the Three Counties” plus “Native Apples of Gloucestershire.” We are involved with preserving ancient varieties as a genetic resource, helping the public to replant them and to thus restore the landscape.
- Heritage plums and damsons are also important to us and we are liaising with nurseries to make these available. We promote not just apples, but importantly, perry pears, plums, damsons, cherries, nuts and all tree fruits.
- We held an Orchard Conference at the Three Counties Showground in 2014, bringing together both traditional and commercial orchard sectors.
- Our website, newsletters (for members) and library provide vital information on local, regional and national orchard issues.
- GOT is run by a committee of mostly volunteers, who give much of their time to the group and answer hundreds of orchard-related enquiries each year. They are passionate about raising awareness of our unique county's heritage and of restoring the landscape. Traditional orchards are host to up to 1800 varieties of fauna and flora and biodiversity is a vital part of GOT's outreach, in our changing climate.
- We can only continue our work with a flourishing membership. Your membership fee will help us to achieve our aims of conserving, promoting and celebrating traditional orchards in Gloucestershire, their important wildlife habitat and the cultural and historical aspects. By encouraging the use of the fruit and other orchard produce (through courses and our online orchard marketplace, for example), orchards are more likely to be retained for generations to enjoy.
So, please join us today!
Alan Watson Honorary Consultant, (Gloucestershire County Council) and Charles Martell. Dave Kaspar Honorary President (GOT Chairman for 10 years). Juliet Bailey Honorary Ecologist (committee member to 2013).
- Keith Turner (Chairman 2012-)
- Jonathan Briggs (Vice Chairman 2016-)
- Dave Kaspar (Honorary President from 2012. Previous Chairman 2001-2011) Runs GOT Orchard & Rural Skills Centre.
- Jim Chapman (Treasurer and Hartpury Heritage Trust/National Perry Perry Pear Orchard Centre)
- Ann Smith (Coordinator/Company Secretary/newsletter editor & membership)
- Helen Brent-Smith (GOT Orchard & Rural Skills Centre)
- Martin Hayes (chief orchard surveyor, tree surgeon, schools)
- Chris Wedge (Natural England & UK Habitat Action Plan group)
- Rob Watkins (nurseryman of Lodge Farm Trees, nr Berkeley)
- Meyrick Brentnall (Gloucester City Council/Severnside Project)
- Clare Mahdiyone (Stroud Valleys Project)
- Mattias Philwret
- Alison Parfitt
- David Lindgren
- Pete Smith (webmaster)
Dave and Helen also run Days Cottage Apple Juice (organic juice, cider & perry makers) and manage the GOT Orchard & Rural Skills Centre and their museum orchard in Brookthorpe, Gloucester.
Seventy-five per cent of Gloucestershire's orchards have been lost in the past 50 years. Agricultural changes and lack of demand, foreign competition and finally the supermarket all aided the demise of many local orchards and varieties. Despite this decline, Gloucestershire still has areas where orchards form a strong traditional landscape character; the Berkeley Vale and Dymock area still contain a noticeable number of orchard trees with many local varieties.
The early 90s saw an orchard revival. The Great Storm led to a realisation that the remaining orchards were under great threat.
Survey work carried out by the county council's landscape architects in 1991 led to a landscape strategy. Key landscape features that showed neglect, including orchards, were chosen to become target areas for action. In 1992 the county's 'Restoring our Landscape' grant was introduced which has since resulted in over 3000 orchard trees being planted. The council also put together an information pack listing local varieties, suppliers and advice on planting.
Many local varieties were endangered and in many cases only one tree remained, resulting in a high percentage of Gloucestershire varieties being lost. To stem this decline, local varieties have been located, identified, grafted or budded over the last 10 years, many by Gloucester cattle/cheese farmer and county fruit expert Charles Martell. The now certified varieties have been budded on, to create a public bank of trees known as a Mother Tree Orchard for the county at Uckington, near Cheltenham (not open to the public), maintained by county arboriculturalist Alan Watson. From this a museum apple orchard of all the known Gloucestershire apple varieties has now been planted at Brookthorpe, near Gloucester at the GOG Orchard & Rural Skills Centre where most of the orchard management training courses take place with Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith (see www.dayscottage.co.uk). Dave and Helen also run their organic and award-winning juice, cider and perry business and sell Gloucestershire varieties of fruit at Stroud and Bristol farmers markets, bringing full circle the marketing of local produce.
A Gloucestershire plum collection with Gloucestershire County Council and GOG is planned, mainly from Charles Martell's existing Reference Prunus Collection at his Hunts Court Farm at Dymock. Download Native Plums of Gloucestershire »
Perry pear collections have been established by Charles Martell, Jim Chapman and others. Jim has recently built a Perry Pear Orchard Centre with Heritage Lottery Funding at Hartpury alongside his NCCPG collection of almost all known perry pears from the three counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire (and beyond). He now runs accredited cider and perry courses with Peter Mitchell.
Overall, orchard loss has now stabilised especially with public interest in old apple varieties. Farm shops and markets are also helping re-establish a "taste' revival, with local apple and plum selections. It will take time to re-educate people's palates. This is important as we need to have a market for traditional varieties other than home consumption. But we feel the tide has turned. Many heritage varieties of fruit tree have now been planted across Gloucestershire, in private collections, gardens, community green spaces, schools and farmland. Richard Fawcett's vision for restoration of the landscape has begun!
GOT was founded in 2001 (then as the Gloucestershire Orchard Group or GOG), originally by Gloucestershire County Council (Anna Jones, Richard Fawcett and Alan Watson) and volunteers (Ann Smith, Dave Kaspar, Helen Brent-Smith, Juliet Bailey and Elaine Shears), with the benefit of Charles Martell's research and scion wood. Heritage fruit trees were then sold by nurserymen Dave Kaspar and farmer Rob Watkins of Lodge Farm Trees and the range of varieties for sale on a range of rootstocks increases year on year.
Membership has reached about 200 with a rolling programme of training in pruning, grafting, budding and fruit identification, Apple Days, Plum and Pear Days, orchard walks and talks, Blossom Days, Communal Juicing and celebration of our orchard heritage. GOT was delighted to receive £20,000 in 2007 for the development of the Orchard & Rural Skills Centre at Brookthorpe, near Gloucester (Gloucestershire Environmental Trust/Cory Environmental grant). A marketing website was launched in 2009 for the exchange of fruit and fruit-related produce, by Pete Smith and Heritage Lottery Funding through Hartpury Historic Land & Buildings Trust.
GOT also had strong links with the now disbanded National Orchard Forum, a voluntary umbrella organization which included and shared best practice between other heritage orchard groups throughout the UK since 2002.
GOT links well with South Gloucestershire orchard activities through South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol community orchard groups. Contact us for details and a Bristol orchard group listing.
2011 update: GOG is now a registered charity, the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust, No. 1137917. A non profit distributing Company limited by guarantee.
The organisation will be known as the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust.
To conserve, promote and celebrate traditional orchards within Gloucestershire
To share resources and exchange information
To educate at the local level
To develop orcharding skills
To promote orcharding practice that enhances biodiversity
Membership is open to all: Membership classes and annual membership fee shall be agreed by the management committee and shall be revised as found necessary
A Management Committee: This shall be appointed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Additional committee members may be co-opted, but are subject to confirmation at the following AGM
The secretary shall be appointed by the Management Committee
The secretary shall call an AGM every year by giving no less than four weeks notice to the membership
Proceedings at the AGM:
Quorum: Six members present shall constitute a quorum
Nominations: Nominations for officers and other items for discussion must be submitted to the secretary at least 10 days prior to the AGM
Elections: A chair and treasurer of the Trust shall be elected by members present. Every member or duly appointed representative having one vote
Reports: The annual report and financial report shall be presented by the chair and treasurer respectively
Other business: Such other business as the Committee shall decide or as has been notified to the secretary shall be included on the agenda for consideration
Proceedings at Committee
The Management Committee shall meet four times a year
The meeting shall be chaired by the chair or other officer of the Trust
Committee members failing attend three consecutive meetings may be asked to stand down
The Trust may receive subscriptions and grants or donations for general or specific purposes
Any funds received for the Trust shall be handed to the Treasurer
The Trust shall maintain such bank account or accounts as the committee may from time to time decide
Funds not needed for immediate expenditure shall be paid into one of the Trust’s bank accounts
At least two signatures of officers or other committee members (as may from time to time be agreed) shall be required to draw funds from any of the Trust’s bank accounts
In the event of the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust resolving at a meeting of members to dissolve itself then any remaining funds or other assets shall be transferred to any Charity or non-profit making organisation within Gloucestershire that the membership decides most nearly fulfils the Objects of the Trust
At the inaugural meeting held on the 18th September 2001 delegates discussed the draft constitution and agreed a date for the first AGM in order to agree the Constitution and the election of officers.
The first AGM was held on the 9 Oct 2001. Officers were elected and the Constitution approved.