TCTOP – Astmans Orchard
Astmans Orchard was once part of a much larger orchard block. When the previous owner died and the farm was sold it was saved by its current owners, who were keen to make sure it wasn’t lost . Now part of the TCTOP project, and restored with the help of our volunteers, its future looks secure.
The orchard is full of veteran trees – mainly apple and plum – but there has also been some replanting. The young trees are all ‘traditional’ , on vigorous stock, and will eventually form tall trees. Although some of the old trees are past their prime they have been kept and the new trees planted alongside. The old trees have brilliant wildlife value and the orchard is fantastic for wildlife.
As the photographs show, the orchard is grazed by sheep. They help to keep the sward diverse and keep down rank weeds. It does mean though that the young trees have had to be well protected since sheep can really damage new planting – and protecting the trees can often take longer than the pruning and planting work we do!
The owner is an orchard enthusiast and last year helped the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust to put on a plum day here. This area is renowned for having some of the best local varieties of Gloucestershire plums in in its orchards and TCTOP has helped to make sure that they are not lost.