From Quantock Hills Joint Advisory Committee
Somerset as a county has long been associated with orchards and it has a long heritage with horticulture of apples and cider-making. Documents referring to apples and cider production exist from Norman times, while the Vale of Avalon (Glastonbury) takes its name from the Old Welsh word for apple, aballon. The Quantock Hills AONB Management Plan 2009 – 2014, recognised the importance of orchards biologically, historically and culturally and recommended further action to identify traditional orchards and support management and protection.
In 2012 a joint initiative between the Quantock Hills AONB Service and the University of Bristol’s History Department, led by Prof Peter Coates, started looking at the history of orchards over the Quantock Hills. Phase 1 of the project, undertaken by Dr Marianna Dudley and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, concentrated on modern sources, such as aerial photographs and Ordnance Survey mapping to map the recent increase or decline in orchards. Phase 2, undertaken by Dr Nick Nourse and funded by the Quantock Hills Sustainable Development Fund and the University of Bristol’s Lady Emily Smyth Agricultural Research Station Fund, completed earlier this year, utilised Tithe maps and apportionments to map the extent of historic orchards.
I am pleased to be able to provide for your information maps of the Quantock parishes showing the results of the studies. Phase 1 identifies orchards which are or have been present during the 20th century with different colours showing when orchards have been present. The Phase 2 map captures data from the 19th century Tithe maps and apportionments (ledger of land use created when the Tithe maps were created). The maps have been reproduced as a low resolution due to the file size. Please contact me if you would like to view any of the maps in more detail.
As with any study, especially ones where there is limited time to ground-truth, there may be errors in orchard mapping especially in later years so please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries. Copies of both Marianna’s and Nick’s reports are also available from the Quantock Office along with more detailed digital mapping.
Quantock Apple Heritage Day
Saturday 19th October, Fyne Court, Broomfield. 11am – 4pm
The next exciting phase for the Orchards project is the Quantock Apple Heritage Day on 19th October (11am – 4pm) at Fyne Court. Also funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the day aims to celebrate orchards and their local importance through activities such as pressing, tastings, poetry, dance, music and much more.
More information on the day can be found at the website www.quantockappleday.co.uk or by contacting Rachel Kelly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org