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Farming in Protected Landscapes Case Study:

Sandlings Orchard project

For Years 1 and 2 of the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, £57,226 was awarded to farmers in the East Suffolk Farmer Group to create 16 new orchards in the Sandlings area of south Suffolk.

This project was enthusiastically received by the Farming in Protected Landscapes panel, as traditional orchards are part of a rich landscape, and are designated as a Priority Habitat because of their biodiversity value.

Suffolk has several very different traditions with each area having their own specific fruit tree varieties, but many traditional orchards have been lost over the last 100 years.

As well as providing a carbon capture, improving soil health, helping to reduce localised flooding, adding value to the historic environment/landscape character, traditional orchards provide unique habitats to many bird, insect and animal species, several of which wholly depend on the orchard.

The orchards have been sited on private farmland in such a way as to connect existing wildlife habitat, such as alongside field boundaries, usually hedges or areas of scrub or woodland. In addition, orchard sites have been chosen which complement existing landscape features or views. The orchards have a wide range of trees some of which have become vary rare, including cobnut, walnut, and heritage fruit varieties.

Each orchard’s young trees are protected by deer and rabbit fencing and will be managed by each land manager far into the future.