5 out of 5 stars
If I had enough land I would plant an orchard. Sadly I haven’t got that opportunity so I have to make do with visiting the few community orchards every now and again. The one tucked away behind the church in Bridport is one of my favourites. I knew they could be a haven for wildlife, but having read this book, I think that the diversity and range of habitats that they offer is second to none.
This particular orchard that is the subject of the book is quite special. To start with it hasn’t been grubbed up to satisfy the whim of some anonymous civil servant who needs for complete form of some kind, nor has it been touched by chemicals. Sadly they keep its location secret as it is a private orchard as I would love to be able to visit. Instead, they become our eyes and ears looking at the wildlife that inhabit the fruit trees.
The owners of the land do maintain it, but they are happy to leave fallen branches to rot down providing many more habitats for the vast numbers of species that can be found here. With the abundance of insects in the orchard, come their predators and the orchard is full of numerous species of birds, who have plenty of place to nest because of the light touch management of the orchard by the owners. With an abundance of birds come the raptors and this orchard is rich in those too.
I thought was an excellent book. Not only is it packed full of the tiniest details of the life that inhabits this very special orchard, but it is really well written by both the authors. Their writing is evocative and they are happy to share their extensive knowledge with the reader. But most of all it is an inspirational book about how we can use the orchards we have to give wildlife the urgent helping hand it needs in this climate emergency.