Dyffryn Gardens' heritage orchard
Planting of our new heritage orchard has begun, housing only welsh varieties of apple and pear we will become a genetic bank to keep these species thriving.
Where is the new orchard?
We are turning a previously unused field at the edge of the estate to a heritage orchard. Covering 1.5 acres the site sits to the right hand side of the main visitor entrance set back from the road.
During the autumn the site has been flailed ready for planting to take place this winter. 70 apple and pear trees have been donated to us by The Welsh Cider and Perry Society as the first stage with more arriving next year. All the trees are Welsh varieties and the orchard will specialise in preserving this genetic material along with a number of other sites.
Which varieties are being planted?
Interesting varieties being planted include Cadwallader cider apple, an extremely rare, old apple variety which makes bittersweet cider. Pig Aderyn eating apple, this ancient variety is suspected to be of Norman origin, trees can still be found growing at St Dogmael’s Abbey built in the twelfth century near Carmarthen. It is called ‘Pig Aderyn’ Welsh for bird’s beak, to describe its angular top.
Other varieties include; Monmouth Red, Potato Pear, Chapmans Orange, Gwehelog Red, Little Cross Huffcap and more.
The first fruit trees will be planted in the heritage orchard this winter, whilst the trees are dormant and there is plenty of moisture in the soil. The site has been selected owing to its sheltered situation from northerly winds and good light levels.
All being well we would expect our first fruit crop in 2020, which we will look forward to sharing with our visitors through produce available in both our shop and tearooms.
Increasing our biodiversity
The addition of an orchard will also provide important habitat for a multitude of birds, pollinators and insects. The orchard habitat, which is traditionally cultivated to be semi-natural with a wealth of herbaceous vegetation, is a declining aspect of the British countryside. The Dyffryn Heritage Orchard will join a community of several other orchards in the Vale of Glamorgan, including Porthkerry County Park, thus contributing to the wildlife health of the region.
As the orchard develops we hope to build a significant collection of Welsh apples and pears, helping to keep the varieties thriving for years to come!
Access to the orchard will be by guided tour later in the year after the trees have had a chance to establish.