Developing a Welsh Heritage Orchard in West Wales

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Funding

  • Aberystwyth Students Union: £9,914.00

Funder Project Reference(s)

unknown
Effective start/end date01 Mar 201828 Feb 2020

Description

Aberystwyth University has been chosen by The Welsh Perry and Cider Society to establish one of six Wales-wide Apple and Pear Orchards aimed at preserving the valuable, unique genetic resource that Wales possesses. The orchard will be located on the main University farm at Gogerddan which is part of the Gogerddan campus that focuses on agricultural research related to grassland and livestock farming. Orchards are an integral part of livestock farming systems in many parts of the country yet are not an established feature of farming in Mid and West Wales despite there being extensive small-scale orcharding activity in the area. A number of known locally adapted apple cultivars with names such as Afal Pethyre and Pig Aderyn are available in limited quantities and yet more trees are currently being identified, growing throughout Wales, through a Heritage Lottery Fund project awarded to the Welsh Perry and Cider Society aimed at identifying a unique resource of Welsh heritage apple and pear cultivars through DNA testing and comparing the results with the National Fruit Collection held at Brogdale in Kent. In total, at least 50 unique cultivars, have been identified and established on new rootstocks. Maiden trees of each cultivar, grafted onto a semi-dwarf rootstock, will be donated to plant and establish the orchard which will act as a valuable genetic resource collection. Moreover, the orchard will also provide opportunities for local people to get involved in orcharding practices that, with huge global commercialisation of the fruit industry, in the UK, are becoming a dying art.