Explore the Lanlay Community Orchard
The Lanlay Community Orchard Project aims to provide a balance between good tree husbandry with valuable wildlife value. Managed by Cyswllt Peterston Connect, this flourishing orchard can be found in a tranquil spot of Lanlay meadows, a landscape untouched by a generation of progress.
This orchard forms a small part of the Lanlay Meadows Local Nature Reserve which is situated in the Ely Valley floodplain just south of Peterston-super-Ely village in the Vale of Glamorgan. The meadows were acquired by the National Trust in 1998 from the Morgan family, local landowners who live close by. For various reasons the land was never managed intensively, which has enabled a semi natural grassland to establish surrounded by large semi mature hedgerows.
The orchard was planted in two phases in 2013 and 2014 with a mixture of 34 Welsh heritage apple, pear, damson and plum trees supplied by Dolau Herian from Llandeilo in West Wales and Ian Sturrock and sons from Bangor in North Wales. The site chosen recommended by Countryside Manager Joe Daggett is south facing and sheltered to the north by a large overgrown hazel hedge, which forms the boundary with a former Mill building located on the River Ely. Being part of a floodplain, the water table can be high when the river is in full spate which is not ideal for deep rooted trees, but the fertile conditions have enabled good growth on most of the trees.
A favourable microclimate has also encouraged tall herbs such as comfrey, willow herb and red campion, which are retained in sections to encourage pollinating insects and their deep roots help with drainage and provide mass floral displays in early summer.
Managed by Cyswllt Peterston Connect, the team’s aim is to provide a balance between good tree husbandry with valuable wildlife value. Today there are overwintering insect bug hotels, bird nest boxes and areas to encourage overwintering reptiles. Future projects will also seek to encourage breeding amphibians by creating a small pond area.
A willow woven structure was added in 2016 using cuttings from Peterston Primary School with assistance from Clare Revera from Out to Learn Willow based at Ogmore by Sea.
In June 2019 the site was awarded a Community Green Flag Award which has spurred us on to engage with our local community and encourage visits from schools and environmental groups, as well as keeping our notice board filled with news of events and siting’s of local wildlife.
Anybody wishing to visit the site can park at the entrance or there is a layby for parking close by opposite the pub in the village. The site is open all the year and there are lovely walks and trails linked to Public Rights of Way following the River Ely.