Dolton’s orchards

According to local historian, Dave Dingley, in 1755 there were nearly 50 acres of apple orchards in Dolton, producing 13,000 gallons of cider. Most of this was for consumption within the parish, as cider was an important currency in apple-growing regions. In fact, about 1/6 of a farm labourer’s wages were paid in this form.

By the middle of the following century, according to the 1842 tithe map, the total orchard area in Dolton had grown to 74 acres, with an average of 1.5 acres of apples per farm. Considering that Dolton was fairly typical of hundreds of rural parishes across Devon, imagine how different the landscape must have looked!