Why Orchards are Important
On the subject of Community Orchards, Common Ground states:
Community Orchards offer a way of saving vulnerable old orchards and opportunities to plant new ones. They provide places for quiet contemplation or local festivities. a reservoir of local varieties of fruit and a refuge for wild life.
Orchards were once widespread throughout the British isles - apple varieties hail from north of Inverness to the edge of Cornwall. Until recently every farm, country house and suburban garden had its own collection of fruit trees.
Pressure on land for new houses and roads and the importation of cheap fruit from abroad has caused the loss of many of these small orchards. Orchards in villages and on the edge of towns are prime targets for development.
The acreage of commercial orchards has declined rapidly too. In 1970 MAFF recorded 62,200 hectares of orchards in the U.K. this declined to 46,600 hectares in 1980 and further to 22,400 hectares in 1997. This is a 64% decline in 27 years.