Discover orchards

Orchards were once widespread in the UK but are now disappearing.

A natural orchard

However, they are an important part of the landscape – not just for food, but for supporting plants and animals.

Studies carried out by Natural England in 2004 and 2012 found that orchards contain a mosaic of habitats and are hotspots for biodiversity.

Study your local orchard

Want to study biodiversity in orchards near you? OPAL and the Field Studies Council have developed two guides to get you started, looking at the lichens and mosses that grow on fruit trees.

Lichens and mosses play a number of important roles in ecosystems and studying them can teach us about how our environment is changing.

Lichen guide

Xanthoria polycarpa, a lichenDownload our free guide to lichens in orchards in the east of England.

Moss guide

Syntrichia intermedia, a mossDownload our free guide to mosses in orchards in the east of England.

About lichens & mosses

A fruit treeDiscover the importance of studying organisms on trees.

Image gallery

Parmelia sulcata, a lichenBrowse our gallery for a taster of what you might find growing on trees in your local orchard.