Lanhydrock Estate had until recently regrettably few orchards which traditionally had been a fundamental part of the Estate. In 2009 the Estate planted Dewey Damson Orchard in order to start to readdress the balance. The orchard is planted neighbouring an existing long abandoned orchard which was featured in the Lanhydrock Estate map of 1881.
Damson trees of local provenance were selected where possible, also Gages, Grey Plum, Kea Plum and Bullace; the oldest form of Damson found in wild hedgerows. All the trees were selected for their damson-like properties, flavor, tradition and local importance and highly cultivated forms were avoided. All the fruits have different flavours, making the most versatile crop as far as culinary uses are concerned.
To maximize the wildlife value of the orchard, a native hedge has been planted around the boundary. The hedge is predominantly Blackthorn, with Dog Rose, Guelder Rose, Wild Cherry, Wild Plum and Dogwood in lesser proportions. The aim is to harvest the Blackthorn sloes for ‘Lanhydrock Estate Sloe Gin’. The other species aid in the establishment of the hedge and provide valuable food source for other fauna.
This includes of course our honey bees which are an essential element to the orchard and dramatically increase pollination rates. A native wildflower meadow has been sown in the orchard increasing the habitat value further. The use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides is avoided. All of this contributes to the conservation efforts made across the whole Estate.