Volunteer to map the historic ‘Fruit Basket of Scotland’
Volunteers are being sought to secure the future of South Lanarkshire’s traditional orchards through the Orchard Mapping Project, taking place from September to December this year.
Once known as the Fruit Basket of Scotland for the vibrant fruit trade in the area, the number of orchards in South Lanarkshire has diminished rapidly since the 1970’s through global fruit imports and disease.
Volunteers will survey and record how many orchards exist today and information gathered will be available online on the National Orchard Inventory for Scotland and the Clyde and Avon Valley website. It will be used to connect with orchard owners and provide them with management advice.
Managed by Clyde Valley Orchards Cooperative Limited (CVOC), and facilitated by the National Orchard Inventory Scotland (NOIS) with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP), volunteers will identify and visit orchards to verify and add to existing data, take photographs of what they find and enter it onto the NOIS database.
South Lanarkshire has the largest number of orchards in Scotland, with current records showing that there are 213 in the county. The Orchard Mapping Project expects to add to this number with CVOC being aware of at least a dozen additional sites that have 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 that has a few hours spare over the next 6 months to come forward and volunteer, it has the potential to open up areas of South Lanarkshire to them that they never knew existed.”
The Orchard Mapping Project is one of a number of projects supported by CAVLP that seek to revive orchards by raising awareness of the unique orchard heritage of the area. Since 2011, 207 individuals have received training in orchard management and been supported to develop orchard products which saw the launch of Clyde Valley Orchards apple juice in 2015.
Kirsten Robb, Development Officer for CAVLP orchard projects says, “the engagement around orchard projects has been fantastic. Through partnership working with Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT) and Rural Development Trust (RTD), 22 orchards have been planted in local schools, a community orchard has been created at Kirkfieldbank, 14 orchards brought into active management, and almost 1000 new fruit trees planted.”
The seventh annual Fruit Day, celebrating local orchard heritage and contemporary production will take place on Saturday 1 October this year at Overton Farm, Carluke.