VISITORS to historic walled gardens are invited to fill their boots and collect some of its bountiful harvest of apples.

Favourable weather has helped to bring a bumper crop of fruit to the orchard at Old Durham Gardens, a mile east of Durham city centre, which has a rare collection of more than 100 apple, pear, damson and greengage trees.

The Friends of Old Durham Gardens (FODG), the charity which runs the site on behalf of Durham County Council, is inviting people to help themselves to the fallen fruit.

Joy Brindle, who chairs FODG, said its “wonderful” volunteers have helped to keep the gardens in check.

“The excellent fruit crop is a nice problem to have, but we really need to make sure that this free food is used.

“At its heart, Old Durham is a community orchard and we would welcome local residents to walk down to the gardens and help themselves.

“The main orchard is open all year round and if visitors just bring a bag they can take what they need. That way there will be plenty of fruit for everyone.”

Visitors are urged not to climb or damage the trees.