How many fruit trees does it take to count as an orchard? The Lakeside Hotel has only eleven, but the main reason for including this site here is that this is possibly the best example of publicly accessible espaliered apples & pears in Cumbria. The hotel is situated at the southern end of Lake Windermere, surrounded by gardens running down to the lakeshore. The hotel car park is immediately north of the hotel. As you walk out of the car park, a line of eight espaliered apples is situated diagonally to your left. Each variety is labelled with an Alitag label www.alitags.com showing planting date. The varieties are: Scotch Bridget, Duke of Devonshire, Old Pearmain, Golden Spire, Egremont Russet, Keswick Codlin, Ladies Finger of Lancaster & Carlisle Codlin. The trees were planted by SLOG founder member Dick Palmer on MM106 rootstocks. They stand above the hotel’s pool room, in only 15cm depth of topsoil. Most are now 10yrs old and have been summer pruned annually with four pairs of branches carrying plenty of fruit spurs. They receive an annual spring dressing of mushroom compost and also benefit from the lawn fertiliser, but nothing else since pests and diseases (except a little scab) are minimal. The open sunny aspect and good airflow are probably beneficial factors. Round on the west side or roadside of the hotel, there are three espaliered pears (Louise Bonne de Jersey), an early flowering dessert variety planted in 2003. These are managed in the same way on four wires and look healthy and vigorous. They crop well but suffer more scab than the apples.
The Lakeside Hotel opens its gardens for charity under the National Gardens Scheme usually on Wednesdays in mid June and late August, 11am-4pm, admission £5 (Dates for 2013 are June 19th & August 28th). For anybody who wants to see what espaliered apples & pears should look like, the Lakeside Hotel is well worth a visit. Location: One mile north of Newby Bridge, follow brown signs for Windermere Lake Cruises. Postcode for Satnav: LA12 8AT Tel: 015395 30001