There is a long history of fruit growing in Wales, though as in other parts of the UK there has been a sharp decline in the extent and condition of orchards over the last century. The most extensive areas of traditional orchards are in Monmouthshire and north east Wales, though the major river valleys, such as the Tywi and Wye, also held notable orchards. A range of types of fruit was grown in Wales and the production of cider and perry was important. A number of local fruit varieties were present, though most fell out of production.
Over the last twenty years there has been a renewal of interest in traditional orchards, local fruit varieties and orchard produce. Traditional fruit varieties have been located, identified and are being propagated again. A number of orchard groups have been established to promote the conservation of traditional orchards, to create new ones, to preserve local fruit varieties and to promote their produce. The benefits of locally produced fruit are being appreciated and orchards are being recognised as a community resource.
Welsh orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- Marcher Apple Network (MAN) –Rhwydwaith Afalau’r Gororau – is involved in the preservation of old varieties, helping members and the public with orcharding matters and attending many agricultural shows during the autumn providing an identification service. Provides an extensive library service, runs courses and lists of local events. MAN has published the Herefordshire Pomona and the Welsh Marches Pomona. A CD is available giving almost 400 descriptions of cider apples and perry pears.
- Welsh Perry and Cider Society – aim to encourage a greater appreciation of these natural craft drinks, spearhead a new era of orchard planting and promote Welsh perry and cider. Provide news and events service and organise the annual Welsh Perry and Cider Festival. See their Guide on cider making, orchard maintenance and enhancing biodiversity within orchards
Where to buy trees in Wales
- Ian Sturrock & Sons – have grown rare organic Welsh fruit trees in North Wales for the last 30 years and developed a collection of fruit trees that will succeed in their unique location. Have varieties of apple, pear, plum and damson fruit trees from all over Wales. In 1998 they discovered the Bardsey Island Apple which led to a resurgence of interest in old, almost extinct Welsh Varieties.
- Welsh Apple Trees
- Welsh Mountain Cider & Tree Nursery – is an apple and pear tree nursery which stocks hundreds of varieties of cider, perry, eating and cooking fruit (including many rare heritage varieties in danger of being lost) from Wales, the West Country, around the UK and the world. Specialize in grafting and propagating hardy vigorous trees which thrive at altitude and in wet and windy conditions.
- Dolau-hirion Fruit Trees – nursery situated in the Towy valley near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire selling Welsh apple varieties and pear trees including a range of cider and perry types
- Tom the Apple Man – Tom Adams grows a range of heritage varieties traditionally grown along the English/Welsh borderland, from Cheshire down to Gloucestershire, plus other varieties that show resistance to scab and canker that grow well in the English/Welsh borders region. Trees are grown without the use of chemicals and natural methods of pest control. The nursery is full of wild flowers and herbs that attract predatory insects and birds such as blue tits that feed on aphids. A grafting service is available.
- Dyfi Valley Seed Savers | Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens – Growing Fruit in Powys. Informative guide to growing fruit in Powys
Orchard services and produce in Wales
- Welsh Perry and Cider Society provide information on producers by region (South, Mid, North and West Wales)
- Gwent Wildlife Trust – The Gwent Orchards Project (2010 – 2012)
- Natural Resources Wales (NRW) – Natural Resources Wales (formerly The Countryside Council for Wales) is the Government’s statutory advisor on sustaining natural beauty, wildlife and the opportunity for outdoor enjoyment in Wales and its inshore waters.