Chattern Hill Orchard is a lovely traditional orchard in the heart of a nature reserve in west London. There are over 40 apple trees which are up to 70 years old, many of these being local varieties. In 2019 a Feltham Beauty, Spring Grove Codlin and two of the rare Hounslow Wonder were planted in the orchard.
Where can I find it? Chattern Hill Orchard lies within Bedfont Lakes Country Park in the borough of Hounslow. The orchard can be found in the south side of the park near the entrance off Challenge Road. Click here for a map.
Can I visit? The site is open to the public year-round during daylight hours. The Bedfont Lakes Conservation Volunteers hold a volunteer session here every third Saturday.
How do I get there? A 30-minute walk from Ashford station. The 117 bus stops close to the reserve entrance.
What is there? There are over forty apple trees including veteran granny smith and golden delicious. Younger trees planted around 20 years ago include Merton Pippin, Pinner Seedling, John Apple, Blenheim Orange and Annie Elizabeth. Feltham Beauty, Hounslow Wonder and Spring Grove Codlin were planted in 2019.
History of the orchard: There were extensive orchards in this area planted around the 1920s. After this the site was used for gravel extraction; then as a waste dump; then finally as a nature reserve. Old maps never show an orchard at the location where Chattern Hill is today, but given the size of some of the older trees, it’s likely these are remnants of the orchard of the early 20th Century.
Biodiversity highlights & habitat: The nature reserve as a whole given its range of habitats including large lakes and reed beds is home to a wealth of wildlife. 156 species of birds, 124 moths, 97 fungi and 20 mammals are known here. The orchard is a good place to see wildflowers in spring with a carpet of bluebells and sweet violet. There are honey bees kept on site which ensure the orchard is well pollinated.
Community: There is a volunteer session held here every third Saturday organised by the Bedfont Lakes Conservation Volunteers. Details can be found here http://www.blcv.co.uk/home
Working together: TOP have worked with BLCV since 2018 to clear much of the bramble which was crowding the fruit trees. The trees were mulched and guards replaced to protect from the local rabbits. The mature trees were pruned in the winter and some new local varieties were planted. The varieties which were known were given labels with their cultivar and picking date.