Amazingly British orchards are in decline. It seems incredible that something as important as our trees can be neglected in this day and age. Trees are going to be our lifeblood in the future, for food, fuel, building and controlling climate change. The reason British orchards are in decline is because the chavs and the supermarkets are working in collusion to destroy the British apple market.
It won't work. Supermarkets are beginning to source food locally. This has nothing to do with environmental responsibilty but everything to do with economics. Transport costs are rising and are only set to rise faster and faster as the cheap oil vanishes.
Now is the time to start planting. Trees take a long time to grow but even our two year old apple tree, less than five feet tall, is absolutely full of apples this year. We've only room for three trees in the garden, but one advantage is that they have a very small footprint and tou can grow other things underneath them.
In fifty years wood will be everywhere. It will heat our homes, the trees will produce tonnes of fruit and nuts, even our steam trains will burn wood rather than coal. Houses, furniture and carts will be built from it, and there will probably be hundreds of other uses we haven't even thought of yet.