Welcome to our site which is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage and valuable national horticultural contribution of what remains of the world famous Rivers Nurseries of Sawbridgeworth.
Thomas Rivers, born at Sawbridgeworth in 1798, was responsible for consolidating the reputation of the nursery that his grandfather founded. Although renowned for rose culture, Thomas Rivers major interest was fruit production and the breeding and introduction of new varieties, particularly during the period between 1850 and 1875.
He was responsible for the introduction of 31 peach and 16 nectarine varieties for glasshouse production, over 20 plum varieties, 6 pears and various apricots, cherries, raspberries and strawberries. He remains famous for his plums today.
Unfortunately, the nursery closed towards the end of the 1980s.some of the land went for development and today The Thomas Rivers Medical Centre occupies part of the site of the former nurseries.
The Rivers Nursery Site & Orchard Group, made up of local people, have carried on the work, restoring and preserving part of the site, which was started by Friends of Rivers Nursery Orchard - a Rural Enterprise Project in the mid 90s.
The Executive Committee of The Rivers Nursery Site & Orchard Group represent the interests of the Community of the Sawbridgeworth area at large and all of the supporters of Rivers Nursery Orchard in particular, in preserving the nursery and orchard site as a historic orchard and a managed green space.
The aims of the group:To focus on preserving and revitalising the existing orchard remnants in line with best management practice of old/historic orchards. To formalise a lasting robust statutory protection of the orchard within current demarcation lines To strive towards the growth of the current archives and find a permanent home, befitting of their cultural, scientific, historic, local and national importance Work also continues to develop the site as a Community Orchard Improving the meadow areas for wildlife and providing a community and educational resource for local people
The Rivers Nursery site is privately owned land. Access to the site for activities organised by the Rivers Nursery Site & Orchard Group is by invitation of the landowner, and no public rights of access are implied.