Clyde Valley Orchards Co-operative
Restoring and developing the orchards
As the leading commercial fruit producing area, the Clyde Valley was once known as the Fruit Basket of Scotland. Although substantially diminished since their heyday in the 19th century, South Lanarkshire still has the largest number of orchards in Scotland, with current records showing 213. The Clyde Valley orchards have seen the development of new varieties of fruit, been the source of new foods, drinks, songs and stories, and provided an income for many small and large local businesses throughout time.
The Clyde Valley Orchard Co-operative is a network of local people who are interested in finding ways to make more of the local orchards
Their aim is:
- To build the capacity of individuals and groups to sensitively manage the orchards for a range of benefits
- To create a focal point for the exchange of information and resources relating to the orchards
- To develop and promote a range of local, high quality orchard produce
- To gain a better understanding of the range of fruit varieties within the Clyde Valley and identify and conserve old varieties
- To promote public awareness and appreciation of the Clyde Valley Orchards by working in partnership with individuals, schools, youth and community groups
They run a range of activities including informal on-site workshops on subjects such as pruning, grafting, and harvesting techniques and own a large fruit juicer which is very popular with members and has produced many gallons of apple juice. They are also looking into new markets for the fruit, and involving schools and voluntary groups in some of the work.
The Clyde Valley Orchards Co-operative are involved with a number of projects which look to revive the diminished orchard resource in the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership Programme, with support from Central Scotland Green Network Trust and Rural Development Trust. This includes training 207 individuals in orchard management skills, the development of Clyde Valley apple juice for commercial sale, 22 orchards have been planted in local schools, Kirkfieldbank Community Orchard has been created, 14 orchards have been brought into active management and almost 1000 new fruit trees planted.
Listen to Duncan Arthur from the Clyde Valley Orchards Co-operative discussing the history of orchards and his favourite varieties below.
Watch the Clyde Valley Orchards feature on BBC Countryfile below.