The Forest of Hearts Traditional Orchard will be created in late 2016 and we will plant a number of fruit trees. The orchard will be a place of peace and tranquility aimed at growing a wide range of heritage and popular apples, pears, plums, cherries, quince and medlars.
Traditional orchards can have significant ecological value. The spring blossom is vital for insects such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies and can vastly increase the carrying capacity of a landscape for these (which can benefit the pollination of other habitats and crops and boost beneficial insect predators of pests such as aphids). The flower buds, leaf buds and fruit can be important for birds such as bullfinch, and winter thrushes such as fieldfare and redwing. Older trees can support holes suitable for nesting birds and may even attract the nesting of lesser-spotted woodpeckers. The dead wood (e.g. heart rot) or mature wood of older trees can be important for ‘saproxylic’ invertebrates such as the redbelted clearwing moth Synanthredon myopaeformis (rare in our area,(Joy, 2001)) and the noble chafer Gnorimus nobilis (not currently known from our area but recorded from nearby parts of Worcestershire), though the insect fauna is poorly recorded in our area. A diverse fungus flora can also be associated with old or dead trees. The foliage is important for insectivorous birds, also phytophagous insects such as the scarce pinion-spotted pug Eupithecia insigniata. Traditional orchards are also an important local habitat for mistletoe, which supports a number of scarce insects.