New orchard being planted at Mugdock

Visitors will hopefully be able to pick their own fruit as soon as next year at Mugdock Country Park in the newly planted orchard.

A team of people helped to plant a variety of trees including apples, plums, damsons and quince recently for the CSV Action Earth project which is being run at the park in partnership with Strathblane Community Council and Mugdock Conservation Volunteeers.

Pear trees have already been planted in the area which is known locally as the ‘orchard fields’ near Mugdock Castle as well as berry bushes such as blackthorn, hawthorn and rowans to provide a bit of shelter for the trees in the orchard and food for wildlife.

Maggie Smith, Mugdock Country Park ranger, said: “There are already old fruit trees in the middle of the area so it’s possible that it may have been an orchard before, perhaps when the castle was lived in.

“Some of the trees will blossom in the spring so in addition to the bulbs and wild flowers that we’ve also planted there should be enough pollen for bees to ensure their survival.

“Once the trees are mature we will invite people to come and pick the fruit for their own use.

“It will be great when people can benefit from this exciting project.

“We will need to learn how to look after the orchard once it’s mature and we’d be happy to hear from anyone who’s interested in this type of gardening to help us with pruning etc in the future.

“All the trees are hardy enough to cope with Scottish weather and we’ve planted some older species to conserve them for the future.

“We’ve already had a lot of help from a wide variety of people and organisations including CSV Action Earth, Forth Valley Orchard, the Kelvin Honey Project, Princes Trust, Duke of Edinburgh, adult resources groups in Glasgow, Mugdock Conservation Volunteers and Strathblane Residents Association - we’d like to thank them all.”

According to historical records an orchard did exist at some stage to the west of Mugdock Castle along with a 9-hole golf course.

It’s thought that the castle dates back to 1372.

It belonged to descendants of Sir David Graham for 700 years until 1945 when the sixth Duke of Montrose sold the estate to Hugh Fraser, later Lord Fraser of Allander.