Help to map Clyde and Avon Valley orchards

Apple harvest (Pic Janice Clelland)
Apple harvest (Pic Janice Clelland)
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Volunteers are needed to secure the future of South Lanarkshire’s traditional orchards through a mapping project taking place between August and November.

Once known as the Fruit Basket of Scotland because of its vibrant fruit trade, the number of orchards in South Lanarkshire has diminished rapidly since the 1970s due to competition from global fruit imports and disease.

Volunteers will record how many orchards exist today, and the information gathered will be made available online on the National Orchard Inventory for Scotland and the Clyde and Avon Valley website.

Managed by Clyde Valley Orchards Co-operative (CVOC), with funding from Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership, itself supported by the National Lottery, volunteers will visit orchards, check data, take photographs of what they find and enter it onto the inventory database.

Current records show 213 orchards in South Lanarkshire.

The orchard mapping project expects to add to this number, with CVOC aware of at least a dozen additional sites having been planted over the last 10 years.

Duncan Arthur, a director of CVOC, said: “Orchards are a wonderful, but potentially diminishing, resource, with many of the small orchards in our traditional growing areas of the Clyde Valley falling into disuse.

“This survey will allow us to connect with owners and show how they can use the fruit they currently have, and the advantage of replanting dead trees for the future of the area. I would urge anyone with a few hours spare over the next six months to come forward and volunteer.”

This is the latest project supported by the partnership to revive orchards by raising awareness of the unique orchard heritage of the area.

Since 2011, 207 people have received training in orchard management.

Kirsten Robb, a development officer for orchard projects, said: “Through partnership working with Central Scotland Green Network Trust and Rural Development Trust, 22 orchards have been planted in local schools, a community orchard has been created at Kirkfieldbank, 14 orchards have been brought into active management, and almost 1,000 new fruit trees planted,” she said.

To volunteer, email cvogsecretary@yahoo.co.uk or phone Duncan on 07807 077341.