Meadow orchards have been around since the Middle Ages. Especially in areas with rather poor soils, a harvest could be gathered on two levels: the fruit trees above gave one crop and on the earth below grass grew for livestock.
However this type of landscape is hardly suited to being managed with large machines. As more machinery came into use in agriculture from the 1950s, orchards were an obstacle and they became ever fewer.
It is only in recent years that the importance of this habitat for particular bird species has been recognised. So using orchards for cider and other drinks helps to protect this valuable asset.