On the southern side of the village of Totternhoe lie the remains of the once extensive prune orchards. Some of the best views of these ancient orchards can be seen from the top of the Downs.
From the middle of the 19th Century, many of the villages at the foot of the Chilterns had both prune and mixed fruit orchards. The Totternhoe orchards were used to grow the Aylesbury Prune, a type of cooking plum.
Grown almost exclusively between Meadle and Kimble in Buckinghamshire, and Hockcliffe in Bedfordshire, prunes from the area were delivered to towns across Britain by rail.
As well as providing a valuable fruit crop, the orchards made perfect grazing for poultry and ducks, including the famous Aylesbury Duck. It is not known when the Aylesbury Prune first became established in the area, but the orchards began to go into decline during the inter-war years of the 20th Century.
The orchards can be seen from the Downs as you walk along the Totternhoe Walk and Archaeology Trail
South side of Totternhoe village
Sign up for our email newsletter to ensure you never miss out on news about the Chilterns, just enter your email address below.
Don’t forget, you can always follow us on our social media channels