Traditional orchards, and small, non-commercial orchards in suburban areas (as in image above), are an important spring and early summer resource of nectar and pollen for pollinators and an important source of autumn and winter food for birds. Larger traditional orchards are not dissimilar to parkland in that they tend to comprise large, well spaced trees – though orchard trees were typically planted to grow either nuts (hazel or walnut) or fruits (apple, plum, pear, cherry etc). The important orchards for biodiversity are those using low-intensity management methods, as opposed to the large commercial orchards with high pesticide and inorganic fertiliser inputs, frequent grass mowing (as opposed to grazing or hay cutting) and the planting of short-lived. densely planted bush fruit trees.
The area of traditional orchards in Wales is only c.440 ha, which is very low compared to England because of the cooler, wetter and windier climate. The agricultural census estimated that there was a 94% reduction in the area of traditional orchards in Wales between 1958 and 1992.