The National Trust has partnered with other charities, community groups, artists, and landowners in the Tamar Valley to coordinate the region’s very first Festival of Blossom.
The team at Cotehele near Saltash have joined forces with the Orchard Network, Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, All Ways Apples, University of Plymouth and Tamar Grow Local to celebrate the beauty of blossom and launch a trail of blossom events accessible from the scenic Tamar Valley train line.
Between April 24 to 30 visitors to Cotehele can take in the spectacle of over 300 orchard trees brimming with blossom whilst enjoying a blossom picnic, or taking part in lawn games, orchard tours or even blossom Pilates. The house at Cotehele will be hosting a special exhibition from artist, Clare Law, whose artwork captures the tranquil beauty and display of colour at Cotehele and in the Tamar Valley.
Visitors to Cotehele on Saturday, April 29, can help wildlife experts from the University of Plymouth record the species of plants and animals that can be found in the Mother Orchard by joining the Blossom BioBlitz event taking place that day.
The data recorded with the help of visitors will create a snapshot of this wonderful habitat and the wildlife that calls it home.
Laura Jarman, National Trust senior visitor experience officer at Cotehele said: “The Mother Orchard at Cotehele is home to more than 300 trees and 125 different varieties of local and heritage apples, some dating back to 1960. The blossom they produce is a beautiful sign of spring and a mark of how special our traditional orchards are.
“Not only do these trees provide us with delicious food and drink, but they are also habitats that provide a home for many birds, bees, butterflies and wildlife.
“We look forward to sharing this true spectacle of nature with visitors this blossom season.”
Among the other events taking place in the Tamar Valley are two guided blossom walks in Keyham (April 27 from 10.45am) and Devonport (May 4 at 10.30am), led by Tess Wilmot of All Ways Apples, giving people an opportunity to discover urban, community orchards on their doorstep.
Elsewhere, Sandhill House will be opening their gardens on Sunday, April 23, raising money for St Luke’s Hospice. On Sunday, April 30, there will be a tea party and music at Kingston Orchard in Bere Alston which will be open from 10am to 4pm.
Dave Bouch, National Trust head gardener at Cotehele reflects on the importance of orchards in the Tamar Valley: “‘Cotehele’ s orchards are a reminder of the valley’s market gardening past, where thousands of cherries and apples were picked for sale at market, but also a vital habitat which need protecting and celebrating. The festival of Blossom is a great way to invite people to see how special traditional orchards really are.”
The Festival of Blossom runs throughout April, with special events between April 28 to 30. To find out more, including the dates and times of specific events, visit Cotehele festival of blossom | National Trust or look out for the leaflets available at Cotehele and various community centres, cafes and wellbeing hubs in Plymouth and the Tamar Valley.
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele