Herfordshire Orchard Initiative (HOI)

What is HOI?
The Hertfordshire Orchard Initiative (HOI) is a working group of Local Government Officers, Orchard Owners and Wildlife Experts who care passionately about Hertfordshire’s orchards their heritage, wildlife value and their future. HOI represents the Habitat Action Plan group for orchards as part of the Hertfordshire Biodiversity Action Plan.

Members of the working group is open to all who are involved in orchard conservation and are willing to give their time and expertise to promoting the conservation, preservation of orchards in Hertfordshie. Current members are:
St Albans City and District Council
Shenley Park Trust
Highfield Park Trust
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (Tewin Orchard)
Codicote Community Orchard
Rivers Nurdery and Orchard Group
Hertfordshire Biological Records Centre
Countryside Management Service.

The Chairman and Secretary of HOI is David Curry.
The Treasurer Rob Allen.
HOI meetings are held at the offices of Highfield Park Trust in St Albans and new working group members are welcome to join HOI on application to the Chairman.

Like to help?
Why not become:
A member of the working group if you own an orchard or from a conservation organisation.
  • A volunteer and helps us to:-
  • Map and record Hertfordshire’s orchards.
  • Pick fruit for Apple Days.
  • Run orchard awareness events
  • Distribute information, helping with school visits etc.
  • Keeping a weather eye open for orchards under threat in your area.

What will it cost you?
For individuals - we simply ask for donations which will help towards ay administrative costs or if you need information to meet the postage costs. Otherwise just a little bit of your time!
If you are a commercial nursery in Hertfordshire – you can best help us by sponsoring Apple Day events in your area or our literature. We will of course acknowledge your sponsorship – But we do ask you to promote Hertfordshire fruit varieties to your customers - contact David Curry to discuss.

Some Key Facts abot Hertfordshire Orchards
  • Queen Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I created an orchard in the palace grounds at Kings Langley in 1280.
  • Orchards are found in both urban and rural areas in 1766 St Albans was surrounded by orchards.
  • Cherry orchards in SW Hertfordshire were once famous for supplying London markets.
  • The Conference Pear and many other top and soft fruit varieties were developed at the world famous Rivers Orchard in Sawbridgeworth.
  • The excellent Lane’s Prince Albert apple was named after Prince Albert when he and Queen Victoria stopped off in Berkhampstead in 1841.
  • There are no known commercial orchards left in Hertfordshire today.
  • Hertfordshire’s Orchards are known to support Lesser Stag beetles, Dor Beetles and cokchafers – species that are charcteristic of undisturbed habitats.
  • One orchard in Hertfordshire supports the nationally scarce Spiked Star of Bethlehem or Bath Asparagus – never recorded in the County before.
  • Over 2,500 people attended Shenley Park’s Apple Day in 2007!
  • Rob Allen of St Albans holds the British record for the longest apple peel – 25metres!