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The Apples and Orchards of Cumbria :

A comprehensive review of Cumbrian apple varieties and of Cumbrian orchards open to the public


About this book:

  • ISBN: 978 190 452 4557

  • Published 2013

  • Price £9.00 + postage

  • 84 pages
  • Illustrated with 107 colour photographs



Westmorland Gazette, December 2013.


Wheaten Loaves, Longstart, Lemon Square, Forty Shilling – mean anything to you? Then how about Bradley's Beauty, Keswick Codlin and Lancashire Pippin... surely that tells you we're talking apples – Cumbrian apples; at least 20 varieties originated here (well Cumberland, Westmorland and 'Lancashire across the Sands'), grown largely in the main fruiting areas of the Eden, Lyth and Winster valleys.

You won't only view apples as red or green, cooker or eater, again after reading retired aronomist Andy Gilchrist's definitive look at varieties, orchards and briefly other Cumbria tree fruit. Happily there seems a growing demand for local produce and more interest in apple days, propagation workshops, etc. – even community orchards.

Cumbria magazine, December 2013.

About this book:

Short-listed for the 2014 Bill Rollinson prize for Landscape and Tradition in the Lake District.

The Cumbrian orchard groups (SLOG and NCOG) are voluntary community groups whose objectives are to conserve, maintain and renovate existing fruit orchards and encourage the planting of new orchards in the county recognising the importance of biodiversity and the preservation of old local varieties of fruit.
They do this by organising talks and orchard visits, running workshops to teach orchard skills such as pruning, grafting and budding, and attending shows to offer advice to the general public and raise funds by selling fruit trees and publications about fruit. At harvest time they run community fruit pressing days, hire out fruit presses to members and attend Apple Days to identify apples and offer advice.
Further information including membership application forms can be found on the South Lakeland Orchard Group website at: The group was set up in 2007 and already has over 200 members.
The North Cumbria Orchard Group has similar aims and objectives. The group started in 2010 and has a similarly wide range of activities. See: for information and membership application forms.

The Author:
ANDY GILCHRIST is a Westmerian who worked as an agronomist, initially in the fruit industry and subsequently in cereals. After retirement and return to Cumbria, he planted an orchard of fifty fruit trees and became Chairman and Newsletter Editor of the South Lakeland Orchard Group (SLOG).


This book grabs the apple lover from the start with the close-up of bright red fruit opposite the contents page. Dedicating the book to Cumbria's Queen of Apples, Hilary Wilson, the author – who chairs the South Lakeland Orchard Group – focuses on the varieties originating in our area and the gardens and orchards where they can others may be seen. In Lakeland, he writes, two distinct categories of fruit growing developed – in the great country houses, where apples were eaten fresh at the end of a meal and on farms, where the apples were used for cooking and the most common variety in the 19th century was Keswick Codlin. Whether you want to be able to tell a Lemon Square from a Nelson's Favourite or discover the connection between artist Kurt Schwitters and an orchard in Elterwater, this is the book for you. Cumbria Life, February 2014.

This is a beautifully printed and presented work of love and dedication by the Kendal agronomist which is also well-enhanced by his lovely photographs. I had no idea that there were so many Cumbrian varieties of apple; eighteen are described in the book. Keswick, of course, has its well-known Keswick Codlin, whilst the Egremont Russett is equally familiar. However, for a region which hasn't the climate and so is not very well-known for apple growing, Cumbria does very well.
Andy has written a very interesting chapter about the history of apple production as well as other chapters both listing and describing at some length those orchards which form an integral part of famous Cumbrian estates where the visitor can see where our local and sometimes endangered varieties are lovingly grown and nurtured. A full day can be spent in most of these estates.
With this book to hand Andy knowledgeably guides the reader through the gardens, pointing out anything which should not be missed. Many smaller orchards are also listed four our enjoyment. This is yet another opportunity to spend some pleasant hours learning more about our own region and the important conservation work being done for our enjoyment by people who care. There is a chapter devoted to the softer fruits grown here, such as: pear, damson, quince, cherry, medlar and mulberry.
Andy goes on to explain the work of the South Lakeland Orchard Group and of the North Cumbrian Orchard whose members do so much work to promote the continuing study of and caring for these forgotten local varieties. After retirement Andy Gilchrist returned to Cumbria and has planted an orchard of 50 fruit trees and become chairman and newsletter editor of the South Lakeland Orchard Group.
Keswick Reminder, January 2014

Northern Fruit Group review, Spring 2014


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