The Orchards in Blackwell’s End, Hartpury, contain the National Perry Pear collection – at least two examples of most known varieties of perry pear, and also a collection of Gloucestershire apples, plums and cherries, all planted by Hartpury Heritage Trust since 2006. Funding for the creation of the Centre came from both public sources and private philanthropy. The collections are intended to be self-funding through the Centre’s activities.

There are 30 acres of orchards and wetlands which are always open for the public to enjoy, and paths are mown through the orchard. Parking for the orchard is on hardstanding outside the main gate, and access is via kissing gates. The orchards are grazed through the summer months by Ryeland sheep and Gloucester cattle. Dogs on leads are welcome, provided the wildlife and animals are not disturbed.

Wildlife includes hares, foxes, skylarks, buzzards, and many smaller birds such as finches, warblers, buntings and pipits along the old lane-side hedge. Swans, geese, and water birds can be seen on the wetland and pond area. There is a bird hide for public use overlooking this area. Owl boxes are placed around the orchard. The habitat also suits other species – mice, voles and a huge variety of insects and moths.

The attractive oak framed Orchard Centre at Hartpury was built by Hartpury Heritage Trust in 2008 as a visitor information point about perry pears.

Perry Pear Orchard, Hartpury

It’s also a venue for other events and activities, including heritage plum days, Christmas markets, dawn chorus walks, moth night/mornings – and the traditional fun of “Wassails”.