Help save Scotland's vanishing fruit orchards

VOLUNTEERS are being sought to secure the future of South Lanarkshire's traditional orchards through the Orchard Mapping Project.

Volunteers sought for orchard mapping project. Picture: Contributed
Volunteers sought for orchard mapping project. Picture: Contributed

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 1970s 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.

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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 seventh annual Fruit Day, celebrating local orchard heritage and contemporary production will take place on Saturday 1 October this year at Overton Farm, Carluke.