Training for Orchard Surveys in the Ayrshires

Monday 24th August saw three new Local Facilitators meet up in Maybole, Ayrshire to participate in an afternoon of training the trainers.  The training was carried out in cooperation with Ayr-based Scottish Smallholders Association, who are our local ‘Collaborating Organisation’ for North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, and South Ayrshire.  Local Facilitators are the people that organise and support volunteer surveyors in their area.

The training was part of the Field Verification phase of creating a National Orchard Inventory for Scotland.  The national project collaborates with local organisations so that knowledge is kept local and community organisations can be part of an orchard revival across Scotland.

Scottish Smallholders Association were successful in gaining Awards for All funding to carry out local work.  Nationally the project is funded by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Want to know what’s involved in being a volunteer – here’s a one page summary

If you are interested in volunteering in any of the Ayrshires, please email

For all other areas, please use our volunteer form here



Orchard Gathering soon upon us

Only a few days to go before Orchard Gathering 2014.

There are still a few tickets left, and for the evening ceilidh

Click here to book now on Eventbrite

This is what we’re hoping will happen at the event:

  • sharing experiences and knowledge
  • building energy and enthusing folk
  • making new connections and sparking new ideas
  • working together to further the orchard movement
  • eating good food, having a great time

See our webpage for details


Orchard banner

Orchard Gathering 2014 announced

Orchard banner


How do we celebrate and grow the orchard movement in Scotland as part of the local food revolution?

Click here to book now on Eventbrite

You are cordially invited to take part in the first Orchard Gathering on Friday 7th November. This will be an open event calling people together from across Scotland who are passionate about orchard trees, their fruits (and nuts), and how we strengthen the culture, knowledge and skills of keeping them. We believe the following things will happen at the event:

  • sharing experiences and knowledge
  • building energy and enthusing folk
  • making new connections and sparking new ideas
  • working together to further the orchard movement
  • eating good food, having a great time

These are exciting yet demanding times. All over the country, old orchards are waking up and new ones are being planted, yet at the same time the supermarkets retain their stifling globalised influence: despite the apple being Scotland’s favourite fruit, our shop shelves are bare of Scottish-grown apples. But the orchard tree, and the apple in particular, has deep roots in our culture, and seems poised for a resurgence.

We will be using innovative participative leadership techniques to ensure that everybody present has a voice, and also harvesting the fruits of all the conversations as we go along, taking notes, photos and video that will be uploaded to a website of the event.

This is an event in two halves: discussion and celebration – you are invited to both. Once the purposeful, focussed daytime part is finished, we will move on to an cultural evening with music, storytelling, dinner, a play and ceilidh.

Tickets are by donation from £5 for the daytime and £5 for the evening (£2.50 unwaged).

Click here to book now on Eventbrite

This is a collaborative event hosted by Fife DietOrchard Research & Enterprise CIC and Forth Environment Link.  For up to date event info please visit any of the three websites:

PROPOSED PROGRAMME (to be finalised)

1000: Registration, tea, coffee, freshly pressed apple juice

1030: Welcome circle including an interactive map of Scotland’s orchards and update on the National Orchard Inventory.

1130: What has been achieved so far?

In this session we will explore and discuss what is happening across all sectors of orchard growing, generating the agenda on the day to fit the programme to the people.

1300: Lunch with practical demonstrations and stalls featuring:

  • Strategy meeting for National Orchard Inventory
  • Book launch of Apple Hunter’s Handbook by Fife Diet Seed Truck
  • Celebration of Forth Valley Orchards initiative
  • How to preserve your fruit
  • Toffee apple tree

1430: What is needed to help grow the orchard movement?

Gathering everyone together, we will use the World Cafe format to discuss how to grow and strengthen the orchard movement.

1600: Next Steps

What do we think are the key next steps? How much can you commit to making them happen? With a summary and closing speech by Fife Diet’s Mike Small.

1700: Day event closes

1730: Sit-down dinner with an orchard fruit theme.  With a welcome by Mrs Mash the Storytelling Cook.

1900: The Forgotten Orchard. A play for all ages by Eco-Drama. Followed by a tasting of all of Scotland’s apple varieties

2100 – 2230: Ceilidh with Hud Yer Wheesht ceilidh band, plus others – feel free to take a turn!

Click here to book now on Eventbrite

With thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for the funding to make this happen. Forth Valley Orchards Initiative is funded by CSGN. Header photograph by Clementine Sandison.

Inventory Finds Orchards Galore

shapeimage_3Work on creating a National Orchard Inventory for Scotland is progressing well.  The GIS Deskstudy has been working its way across the whole country.  We use aerial images, historic mapping, OS data as well as our background knowledge of orchards and that of our collaborating partners.  As of the new year 2014 we have identified over 1000 candidate orchards across Scotland.  In the following second phase, we will be carrying out field verification of these sites over the next couple of years. Contact us if you’re interested in becoming involved in the survey:

The National Orchard Inventory project is being implemented by CW Hayes Associates in partnership with Orchard Research & Enterprise, Borders Forest Trust, and National Trust for Scotland, with support from People’s Trust for Endangered Species.  It is an SNH funded research project.