Rivers Heritage Site and Orchard

Latest News and Events

The next monthly maintenance day will be on Sunday November 3rd, 10:30 am when we will prepare the orchard for Apple Day. Reports on recent maintenance days can be found here.

A report on the (rather wet!) Apple Day 2018 can be found here.

Following Apple Day 2018 we have a further 500 bottles of apple juice for sale in Laxton and Mixed varieties. The Cox/Bramley juice from 2017 is still available.

Elizabeth Waugh's book "Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth" is available buy again.

General Information

Formed in May 2014, Rivers Heritage Site and Orchard (RHSO) is a volunteer steering group of Sawbridgeworth Town Council who work to protect, preserve and maintain the remaining Rivers Nursery site in Sawbridgeworth, UK and also maintain the historical information about the Rivers Nursery in the group's archives. We seek to continue the excellent work of previous volunteers on the current Rivers site.

The Rivers nursery was founded by John Rivers in 1725 and, when it closed in 1987, it was the oldest garden nursery in the UK. Many fruit cultivars and horticultural techniques were developed on the site in Sawbridgeworth, especially by Thomas Rivers (1798-1877) and Thomas Francis Rivers (1830-1899). The history of the site was documented by Elizabeth Waugh in the 2009 book Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth based on the archives of the group and interviews with local people. A brief history of the site is avaiable here.

The former nursery site is private land but is currently under a 3 year lease to Sawbridgeworth Council to allow access and maintenance of the orchard. The site can be accessed through a number public or permissive footpaths from Sawbridgeworth or High Wych. It is currently used by many local people for walking and peaceful enjoyment!

This site aims to provide information about the remaining Rivers Nursery site and the works of RHSO to maintain the site and its history as well as to promote the site as a community asset.

For further information about our work, please e-mail the RHSO committee. To be kept up to date on the groups events, please check the events page, join the mailing list or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.