We are the Local Environment Group for the area around Prestwood in Buckinghamshire, including Great Missenden,
The Hampdens, The Kingshills, North Dean and Speen

Our Aims

We aim to protect and enhance the quality of the natural environment through the involvement of local people.

Coming Events

Protecting Our Environment Registered charity No. 1114685

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Prestwood Nature The Local Environment Group for the Prestwood Area

Orchards

View of the Old Orchard, Little KingshillOrchards were (for at least a hundred years up until the 1950s) a central part of the economy of the area, delivering especially cherries to London and the Midlands.  Many specific varieties were developed locally, such as the Prestwood Black.  Orchards had a wildlife of their own, such as the beautiful yellow sulphur polypore fungus (“chicken of the woods”) commonly found on ageing cherry trees, bullfinches that fed on the buds and fruit, and certain wood-boring beetles that inhabited the oldest survivors.  Few of these orchards survive, but there are still relics at Little Kingshill (The Old Orchard), Collings Hanger Farm, Greenlands Lane, Andlows Farm, and the grounds of The Polecat Inn.  The orchard at Collings Hanger Farm is particularly important as the only site in Buckinghamshire for the Corky-fruited Water-dropwort, an umbelliferous plant like parsley, and the nationally-rare Brown Tree Ant.  Prestwood Nature has been appointed to survey all remnants of old orchard in the area as part of the national Biodiversity Action Plan and is working with the owner of the largest surviving apple orchard to preserve and enhance it as a wildlife habitat.

Kiln Common Orchard

PPlanting the new community orchard, Nov 2008N members and local residents plant the new community orchard, 1st November 2008 (see right).

While seeking to ensure that surviving old orchards are preserved, from the outset PN planned to celebrate the historical heritage of the area and create a new wildlife habitat by creating a community orchard.  This came to fruition in 2008, when 30 trees, endangered old varieties associated with the area, were planted, along with native spring bulbs and meadow plants.  This was possible because of efforts over several years by PN member George Lewis to trace surviving examples of the old fruit varieties, identify them, and take cuttings for propagation at Bernwode Nurseries.  Every tree of the first two plantings was sponsored by a local resident and there is a waiting list for future plantings.  The orchard has been created for wildlife and the enjoyment of local residents, and will be managed on strictly organic grounds.


Further information:   Kiln Common Orchard booklet