Orchards are not just beautifully reminiscent of the traditional British countryside; they also play host to an abundance of important and unique habitats for flora and fauna.

There are three orchards around Roadford. They consist of some very old varieties of apples that are suitable for this area of the West Country; two orchards, both about 10 years old, are based in West Wortha and near Roadford Watersports Centre. There is also a small, new orchard adjacent to the café at Lakeside.

We have about 50 apple trees in total across our orchards. The trees are a mixture of sweet eaters and cider apple trees, fostering a range of different, local apple varieties. Here is a list of those grown at the two main orchards:

Farmer’s Glory
Ben’s Red
Plympton Pippin
Upton Pyne
Beauty of Bath
Veitches Perfection
Cornish Mother
Duke of Cornwall
Reverend McCormick


Most of the trees are under 10 years old. While the orchards are important for producing apples, they are also crucial for their resident wildlife. Offering a variety of different habits and havens for all sorts of wildlife, they conserve and promote biodiversity.

Some of the wildlife our orchards are home to includes: Lesser Spotted woodpeckers, dormice, stag beetles and the Mistletoe Marble moth. In the case of the Mistletoe Marble (Celypha woodiana), a species of micro-moth, orchards are one of their primary habitats, because mistletoe flourishes on the apple trees. This species of moth is a priority species for conservation in the UK; therefore, orchard conservation is crucial, because it protects the moths’ habitats – especially considering the recent decline in the numbers of maintained orchards in the UK.

Similarly, the Lesser Spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopus minor) is relatively uncommon in the UK, existing mainly in the south of England. The species has declined in line with a loss of habitats, including old orchards, and thus holds a place on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Considering this, conserving their orchard habitats becomes all the more important.

My plan is to plant another orchard this year. It will include cider apple trees mainly, so in the coming years we could produce a Roadford cider. Later in the year we hope to hold an open day, so if we have a good crop, the public can come along to pick and press apples and take home some juice!

Kevin Pearson
Countryside Warden – Roadford