A YEAR in the life of a local fruit farm has been captured on film.

Ledbury Food Group has developed an audio/video record of the tasks and challenges that face a modern day orchard fruit farmer through the “farming year.”

"We are but caretakers of this land, to tend and nurture it for future generations with good husbandry and encouraging biodiversity," Chrissy Bentley reads from her blog about her year at Castle Fruit Farm near Dymock.

Small family farms like Bentley's are under threat as they compete with large commercial farms because economies of scale favour much larger operations.

The Bentleys' aim is to be sustainable commercially as well as environmentally, preserving their orchards as part of the diverse landscape.

Orchards are a wonderful habitat for hedgerows, wild flowers, birds and insects and have a unique part to play in maintaining the richness of the natural world. This biodiversity supports the production of high quality fruit as well as the environment.

Chrissy Bentley’s commentary on their year runs with a photo montage capturing the farm through the seasons including pruning and planting, blossom-time, and harvest.

The photos were captured by Pat Strauss, who made regular trips by bicycle to the farm through the year, and David Hewitt helped the group to develop and edit the presentation.

It is available on YouTube as “A Fruit Farming Year at Bentley’s Castle Fruit Farm in Gloucestershire” or by the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?=7okILqEt5po

Fran Robinson, for Ledbury Food Group, said, “We wanted to capture a record, for both now and the future, of a year farming dessert-fruit 'sustainably' in the 21st century. We hope it will both delight and inform.”

For more details about Ledbury Food Group see www.ledburyfoodgroup.org