Orchard wildlife

Fulford Community Orchard is not only a traditional orchard – a distinctive historic feature of the English landscape – but is listed as a Site of Local Interest by City of York Council. As are all heritage orchards, it is a ‘Priority Habitat’ under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Orchard panorama

This  heritage orchard consists of some fifty-six venerable fruit trees in a natural setting, aged probably between eighty and hundred years old. Twenty-nine are plum trees, twenty are pear and seven apple. There are a number of varieties of each species. Identification so far suggests six or seven varieties of plum, ten or eleven of pear and five of apple. Mainly Northern varieties, these include apples such as Keswick Codlin and Gascoyne’s Scarlet. The pear trees include Marie Louise d’Uccle, Hessle, the Vicar of Winkfield and Cattilac, and plum species feature Belle de Louvaine, Czar, and (possibly) River’s Early Prolific.

Mammal residents and regular visitors include bats, as well as squirrels, field mice, badgers and rabbits. The common bat Pipistrellus pipistrellus has been recorded feeding among the canopy of the pear trees, while among the many bird species sighted in the orchard are woodpeckers, tree-creepers and pheasants.

There are also a variety of fungi to be found in the orchard. Among those identified to date are the Beech bracket fungus (Pseudotrametes Gibbosa), a member of the Stropharia species, and the attractive Orange Peel fungus (Aleuria Auranita). Wildflowers include both the common and the musk variety of mallow (Malva Sylvestris and Malva Moschata) and red and white campion (Silene Latifolia and Silene Dioica).

The ancient fruit trees, with their dead branches and cracked and split bark, are a perfect habitat for beetles, moths and flies, as well as lichens and mosses. Among the resident insects is a notable longhorn beetle (gracilia minuta) that is Red List Grade 2: which means, due to habitat loss, it is “likely to become vulnerable in the near future”.

Over twenty varieties of butterflies and moths have been identified in the orchard to date, including the Comma (Polygonia-C), the Speckled Wood (Pararge Aegeria), the Large White (Pieris Brassicae), the Peacock (Inachis Io) and the Meadow Brown (Maniola Jurtina). The rarest is the bagworm moth (Luffia Ferchaultella). Lichens include the common orange lichen (Xanthoria Parietina), the powdered ruffle lichen (Parmelia), and the spotted camouflage lichen (Melanelia spp.)

We are collecting wildlife sightings. If you have seen anything else of interest in Fulford Community Orchard, we would be grateful if you could fill out the form below.

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