Rivers Heritage Site and Orchard

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Upcoming Events

Maintenance Day: Sunday 3rd March, at 10:30 in the Rivers Orchard.

Juice Sales\, Bell Street\, Sawbridgeworth: Saturday 23rd March.

Latest News

Sheet music for wassail songs is now available here.

Apple day 2023 was a huge success. We have around 1100 bottles of apple juice, which will be available to buy at Full of Beans, Sawbridgeworth and at local events soon.

Elizabeth Waugh's book Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth is still available to buy.

A full history of group news is avaiable here.


General Information

Initially formed in May 2014 and re-constituted in 2018, Rivers Heritage Site and Orchard (RHSO) is a volunteer group who work to protect, preserve and maintain the remaining Rivers Nursery site located West of Sawbridgeworth, Herts, 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 varieties 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 three 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.


Website Information

Please visit the following pages of this site for further information:

Home General Information and upcoming events.
History A history of the Rivers Nursery and information on the fruit cultivars introduced by the Rivers family.
Orchard Information about the orchard today and the the fruit varieties held there.
Archives Electronic versions of selected books and publications written by Thomas Rivers and a selection of historical Rivers nursery catalogues.
Access How to find the Rivers Orchard site, including an interactive map of the area.
Gallery Pictures of the Rivers Nursery Site and Orchard, including the RHSO events and wildlife seen around the site.
History A history of the Rivers Nursery and information on the fruit cultivars introduced by the Rivers family.
Events Information of RHSO events, including Apple Day, Wassail and monthly maintenance days and how to volunteer to help with these.
History A history of the Rivers Nursery and information on the fruit cultivars introduced by the Rivers family.
Sales We sell our apple juice and the Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth book by Elizabeth Waugh.
Committee Details of the current RHSO, committee, constitution and a collection of our management policies, accounts, meeting minutes and some useful documents.
Wildlife A wildlife diary of the Rivers site. Not currently updated, but an interesting historical collection.
Wassail Lyrics and sheet music for our annual Wassail songs.
Members Registered members can access this to upload pictures, news and documents to the site and to access member only documents.

How to help us

We are always keen to have new volunteers help us with our work, please e-mail us if you are interested. You can help us in the following ways: