English Orchards: A Landscape History [Paperback]

Gerry Barnes (Author); Tom Williamson (Author)

ISBN: 9781914427190 | Published by: Windgather Press | Year of Publication: 2022 | Language: English 224p, H246 x W185 (mm) B/w and colour

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English Orchards


Old orchards have an irresistible appeal. Their ancient trees and obscure fruit varieties seem to provide a direct link with the lost rural world of our ancestors, a time when the pace of life was slower and people had a strong and intimate connection with their local environment. They are also of critical importance for sustaining biodiversity, providing habitats, in particular, for a range of rare invertebrates. Not surprisingly, orchards and the fruit they contain have attracted an increasing amount of attention over the last few decades, from both enthusiastic bands of amateurs and official conservation bodies. But much of what has been written about them is historically vague, romanticised and nostalgic. Orchards have become a symbol of unspoilt, picturesque rural England.

This book attempts, for the first time, to provide a comprehensive review of the development of orchards in England from the Middle Ages to the present day. It describes the various different kinds of orchard and explains how, and when, they appeared in the landscape – and why they have disappeared, at a catastrophic rate, over the last six decades. Chapters discuss the contrasting histories of fruit growing in different regions of England, the complex story of ‘traditional’ fruit varieties and the role of orchards in wildlife conservation. In addition, a chapter on researching orchards provides a practical guide for those wishing to investigate the history and archaeology of particular examples.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Introducing Orchards
2. Types of Orchard: Farmhouse and Commercial
3. Types of Orchard: Gardens and Institutions
4. The Orchard Countries: Western England
5. The Orchard Countries: South-East England
6. The Orchard Countries: East Anglia and the Fens
7. The Recent History of Orchards
8. Studying Old Orchards
9. The Importance of Orchards: Biodiversity
10. The Importance of Orchards: Culture and History
11. Conclusion

Reviews & Quotes

"The book is an enjoyable read, it combines a vast amount of information in an accessible narrative"
Marion Uckelmann
Antiquity (21/08/2023)

"This is a well-produced book with ample colour illustrations and presents a useful summary on the subject of English orchards, in particular the consideration of the four different types of orchards and a comparison of orchard development between the three key regions of orchard landscapes in England."
Alan Wadsworth
Landscape History (09/05/2023)

"Blending erudite landscape history and ecology with a perceptive eye for heritage and environmental issues, this book provides a superb overview of a neglected feature of our historic environment. It fully deserves the wide readership that it will doubtless receive."
Murray Andrews
Worcestershire Recorder (13/10/2022)

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