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Orchards East project growing strong thanks to lottery players

The Landscape Group in the School of History at the University of East Anglia (UEA) has been awarded £477,700 National Lottery funding for a three year project looking at the regions’ orchards. The project will be known as Orchards East.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the funding has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It extends initiatives already developed by partner organisations, the Suffolk Traditional Orchards Group, and the East of England Apples and Orchards Project.

The English landscape has been described as the richest historical record we possess. Orchards are an integral part of this landscape, but have been relatively poorly researched. Orchards are important for landscape and biodiversity as well as being valuable to people and their local environment.

Working with a range of partner organizations and hundreds of new volunteers, the project team will survey and record traditional orchards across the east of England, and research the history of fruit growing in the region. The project will also involve the restoration of important old orchards, and the creation of entirely new examples.

Working across Bedfordshire, Cambridge, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, the project will recruit and train members of the community to take part in surveys. Other volunteers will receive training in traditional orchard management – helping to halt the decline of these vital skills. Head of the Landscape Group, Professor Tom Williamson says: “I am delighted that we have been awarded this National Lottery grant. Orchards are an important heritage resource, both in terms of biodiversity and as key features in our historic landscape.”

For further information and to find out how to get involved, contact Professor Tom Williamson: t.williamson@uea.ac.uk