10 November 1995

How can the orchard rot be stopped?

A WEALTH of recipes for orchard fruits "tried and tested by Sybil Norcott", Farmlifes cookery writer, is included in an award winning book* which marks the Cheshire Federation of Womens Institutes 75th anniversary.

It is also Cheshire federations contribution to European Conservation Year 1995 and has been so well received by the years organisers that the federation and all the others involved in the Cheshire Orchard Project – Cheshire Landscape Trust, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Norton Priory Museum Trust, Vale Royal Borough Council, Cheshire County Council, Mersey Forest and Mersey Basin Trust – have been presented with certificates for Nature Conservation Achievement.

The loss of the countys orchards in recent years is far greater than the loss of fruit, say the books authors. Traditional crafts, wildlife havens, landscape features and valued resources have gone with them.

But the story is not all nostalgia and regret. There is promise for the future with an account of the orchard restoration under way at Norton Priory. The pear orchard there was planted more than 100 years ago, in fact there have been orchards at the priory since the 12th century.

There is also advice on starting an orchard, a "tour" around other orchards of the county, reminiscences and verse – something for everyone, whether residents of Cheshire or not. AR

*Orchards of Cheshire, (£5.99) is available post free from Cheshire FWI, 11 Whitefriars, Chester, Cheshire SH1 1NZ.

&#8226 The phone no for Thomas Harmsworth Publishing Company is (01308-868118) and not as given in 20 Ways To Cook Apples review (Farmlife, Sept 29).