A Fruitful Landscape

#Conserving Restoring#Historic Features

A Fruitful Landscape was an IFLI project which came to a close in July 2016, and which aimed to recreate the traditional orchards at Cambuskenneth Abbey and Kinneil House.

Research was undertaken into the orchards, their layout, varieties, uses and importance to the local area. Both sites were chosen due to their historic relevance: the site of our orchard at Kinneil is where the original orchard on the estate, when it was still privately-owned, was located. Meanwhile, Cambuskenneth is believed to be home to the first abbey in the Inner Forth to have an orchard in its grounds, bringing the practice to the area some time in the 1100s. This also helped to identify the species of fruit which would be planted in the new orchards, utilising both types which would have been grown when the orchards were first used, and also modern varieties which are more suited to the contemporary climate.

Archeological assessments were used to ensure the orchards were planted in the correct areas. The assessments, along with test pitting, took place in the second half of 2016.

The orchard at Cambuskenneth was planted in February, and in June 2016 volunteers from the local area - including school children - helped to plant the trees in the Kinneil orchard site behind the museum. There are 25 varieties in all, with 50 trees planted between the two sites. Maps indicating the types of trees planted at each site are available as PDFs below. 

For information on the new orchard at Kinneil visit the Friends of Kinneil website.

Orchard at Cambuskenneth Tower

Installing the tree guards at Kinneil Estate.

This project has had several benefits; not only in reusing historically significant parts of the landscape, but also seeing the biodiversity of the area increase, both because of the orchards themselves, and also because of the increased habitat for other species which they can now provide.

A Fruitful Landscape also offered a further oppurtunity for community engagement. Three schools in the area - Riverside Primary, Deanburn Primary and Kinneil Primary - assisted with the planting of the orchards, and will continue to make new labels annually for the trees, offering a chance for continued learning.

Furthermore, eight members of the public were trained - by Appletreeman and Forth Valley Orchards - in fruit growing, orchard management and health and safety practices, and the local heritage volunteer group Friends of Kinneil have formed a sub-group dedicated to the maintainance of the Kinneil orchard. This means that there are already provisions in place to ensure the orchards are maintained and cared for after the completion of this project, and the IFLI lifetime as well.

For further information on A Fruitful Landscape please see the end of project report, below right.

Another IFLI project located in Valleyfield, Fife, has also seen the creation of a community orchard, and orchards formed part of the Action For Nature project, which also concluded this year. We continued the community-focused aspect of A Fruitful Landscape with another project which ran in 2016-17, Fruitful Communities.