Dave and I visited an orchard in West Wight which was new to us.
I am not identifying the exact location of this orchard as it is in private ownership. The orchard has a separate entrance to the road and may not always have belonged to the house it is currently attached to. The new owners removed brambles and ivy to reveal an orchard when they moved in last year. The owner said it was a wonderful, romantic site and it almost spoilt it when the undergrowth was removed. However, some quite large, and in spite of the neglect, productive trees were revealed. November is a bit late for identification and most of the apples were on the ground, but there were definitely some Newton Wonder, Blenheim Orange, a Bramley type, possibly Queen and probably John Standish, several trees of each variety. We hope to go back next year and confirm. There is also a very large tree of Ashmeads Kernel in the other part of the garden, probably the same age as the orchard. Dave said that if he was pruning this tree as a job it would take several days and need quite a bit of follow up work!
We have a friend who lived almost opposite the orchard as a child and remembers playing in the garden and orchard as a child in the early fifties, as she remembers it the trees were large and even then overgrown. So, it must date from between the wars. We think maybe it was planted as a small scale commercial venture to supply apples to the local market?
So what happens next? The owners hope to do some renewal pruning and take out one or two trees that are dead or nearly so. This is a very big job, given the size of the trees and the years since they were last pruned. They then hope to manage it as a traditional orchard with grass and space for wild life.