MAN’s priorities for accession and conservation of varieties is as follows:
- local heritage varieties,
- those found (historically) successful in our area,
- regional varieties not in Brogdale collection,
- temporarily, those uncommon varieties out-of-area pending distribution to regional orchard groups, and,
- research of unidentified varieties.
How has our collection arisen? From two principle sources: as a result of taking sample fruit during visits to old orchards and receiving apples brought by the public to Autumn shows for identification. A preliminary identification may indicate if the variety is a local traditional one, or it is ambiguous or uncertain though looks interesting. During the first ten or so years of MAN we visited over a 150 old orchards. We have been regularly present at about 6-8 Autumn shows for the last 20 years.
If it looks interesting we have asked the owners for permission to take scions in the winter for grafting onto a selected rootstock (based upon interest, certainty of identification and where space is available in our orchards).
A year or two later, the tree is planted in one of our orchards. Depending upon rootstock, it will be fruiting within 3 to 7 years. With “clean” young fruit, identification is usually easier than the old possibly diseased specimens we had to work with initially. Since the trees were planted we have taken photographic records of the fruit for showing how it changes from year to year according to variations in climate. This helps when comparing apples with written descriptions (e.g. Hogg), paintings (e.g. Saunders) and photographs (e.g. Bultitude), for instance whether there is more or less russet or colouring in a year.
Typically now, of the apples we receive, ten or twenty each year prove exciting. It keeps us eager.
Sometimes we makes finds of “lost” varieties and get very excited.
Despite all this effort we still have over a hundred varieties yet to be identified. Some we have a measure of confidence in our identification, but there are many that we may never identify as they could be seedlings. DNA analysis should help increase confidence in many identifications.
Our wish is to conserve varieties that originated in or near to the Welsh Marches and those that have been traditionally associated with the region.
During MAN’s 22 years in existence over 50 varieties have been rediscovered that had been thought extinct. In total over 250 culinary and dessert local apple varieties have now been identified, and about another 100 are currently being investigated, almost certainly resulting in more “finds”.
Our climate is markedly wetter and cooler than in the East of England, and some varieties prosper and others don’t. When we find a variety that thrives in our rich deep Devonian soils, we will consider conserving these too as a precaution against rapid climate change.
As definitive identification and conservation becomes more important to MAN, we are increasingly working with other private, regional and national collections for ensuring that a multiple number of trees, say at least five, are in conserved collections.
Many Members have planted their own orchards that contain some of these traditional and “re-found” varieties, thus enabling diversification of the geographic spread back to those areas from where the varieties originated and where they are best suited to local soils and climate.
During Autumn we sometimes see flocks of 100 or more Redwings descend onto our trees for their apple desserts! Here’s one of them searching for another snack…..
Photo: Redwing at TC
All those that are described in our publication “Welsh Marches Pomona” are being conserved in our orchards.
Bridstow Wasp Colwall Quoining Marged Nicolas Sam’s Crab
Bringewood Pippin Credenhill Pippin New German Sandlin Duchess
Brithmawr Forester Newland Sack Severn Bank
Brookes’s Green Purnell Onibury Pippin Stoke Edith Pippin
Byford Wonder Hunt’s Duke of Gloucester Pig’s Nose Pippin Sweeney Nonpareil
Chatley Kernel King Coffee Pig yr wydd Ten Commandments
Chatley Kernel (Red) King’s Acre Bountiful Pomeroy of Herefordshire Tewkesbury Baron
Cissy Landore Puckrupp Pippin Tillington Court
Since this Pomona was published in 2010, we have found several more, including:
Blacksmith Herefordshire Russet Lady’s Finger of Hereford Kenneth
Gabalva Elton Herefordshire Spice Pig yr Fran Pren Glas
In addition, most of those listed in our publication “Apples of the Welsh Marches” are also conserved in our collection.
of Herefordshire of Worcestershire of Gloucestershire of Wales
Byford Wonder Betty Geeson Ashmead’s Kernel Baker’s Delicious
Collington Big Bitters Chatley Kernel Hunt’s Duke of Gloucester Cissy
Colwall Quoining Chatley Kernel (Red) Lodgemore Nonpareil Landore
Herefordshire Quoining Edward VII Puckrupp Pippin Marged Nicolas
Downton Pippin Gladstone Severn Bank Pig Aderyn
Forester Green Purnell Tewkesbury Baron Pig yr wydd
Gennet Moyle Hope Cottage Seedling Wheeler’s Russet Saint Cecilia
Golden Harvey King Coffee
Herefordshire Beefing Madresfield Court of Shropshire
King’s Acre Bountiful May Queen Brookes’s
King’s Acre Pippin Pitmaston Pine Apple Onibury Pippin
Lord Hindlip Pitmaston Russet Nonpareil
New German Rushock Pearmain
Pig’s Nose Pippin Sandlin Duchess
Pomeroy of Herefordshire William Crump
Sam’s Crab Worcester Pearmain
Stoke Edith Pippin
Furthermore, we are conserving some varieties that are not in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, though those marked with an apteryx are available in nurseries or other collections. However, there is a possibility that some of these may have been mis-identified or may be synonyms of other varieties known elsewhere. Analysis of the DNA of all these varieties is keenly awaited for reducing such uncertainties. Please note the cautionary message under Identification.
Barcelona Pearmain Machen* Sweeney Nonpareil
Blacksmith Marged Nicholas * Sykehouse Russet *
Bringewood Pippin * Nine Square * Ten Commandments *
Brithmawr * Pren Glas * The Warrior *
Credenhill Pippin * Pig Aderyn * Tower of Glamis *
Gipsy King * Pig yr Fran * Twill tin gwydd
Gloucester Underleaf * Pig yr gloman * Waltham Abbey Seedling *
Golden Russet of New York * Pig yr wydd * Wanstall Pippin *
Heusgen’s Golden Reinette * Pomeroy of Herefordshire * Welsh Druid *
Joeby Crab Puckrupp Pippin * Welsh Pitcher
John Norman Reinette Obry * Werder’s Goldreinette
Landore * Rymer
Leathercoat Russet * Scarlet Costard
MAN has four “museum orchards”, three of which are in Powys, and one in Herefordshire; one of these in Powys is on land owned by MAN. We have planted about 600 trees variously grown on M9, M26, MM106, M111 and M25 rootstocks. None of the orchards have been sprayed with chemicals.
Members are cordially invited to visit and work in our orchards. For respecting the land-owner’s interests we do ask that visits are made by appointment with MAN officers. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
It is the Trustees wish that Members see these orchard assets as a benefit of membership and an opportunity by which to gain interesting and useful experiences. Volunteer activity in them are strongly encouraged, on orchard management including planting, pruning, grafting, health, and harvesting. This may be more formal courses, or regular work parties, or ad-hoc arrangements among members as may be convenient.
MAN is working with the Brecknock Wildlife Trust for carrying out wildlife surveys in MAN and Member orchards with a view to improving awareness about their value. If you’d like to participate in recording ecological surveys please do contact us.
Often these Members are very willing to make their collections available to other Members for viewing and inspection, and for sharing experiences.
We encourage you to seize these opportunities.
Paramor near Cwmdu
Paramor is owned by MAN and is becoming our principle collection. There are 120 standard M25 trees mainly of local heritage varieties including those described in Welsh Marches Pomona and Apples of the Welsh Marches. Another 70 trees are of trees grown on semi-dwarfing MM106 bringing earlier fruiting for enabling identification (or confirmation of identification) of them. There is an active volunteer group that works in the orchard.
Photos: General view of TC and Pruning course at TC
Our first orchard was at Tredomen on 0.6 has of land.
When planting began in 1995, the main function of the orchard was to provide a site where interesting apples which we could not name might be cultivated and studied. To help with their identification we occasionally had scions from the NFC, e.g. Dr Harvey, Arthur Barnes, King of Tompkins County, Scotch Bridget and Yorkshire Greening. At the time there was confusion over the identity of certain varieties we encountered in local orchards, notably Scotch Bridget, King’s Acre Bountiful, Catshead and Dr Harvey. We were shown trees said to be “Costards” at Winforton and Eardisland which turned out, after study, to be Scotch Bridget. Several “Catsheads” eventually proved to be Lord Derby. That’s the reason we now have multiple copies of some varieties and also relatively ‘common’ ones among local traditional ones that we wish to preserve.
We now have about 190 trees growing on MM106 rootstock and another 30 on M26 rootstock.
There are about 80 varieties that we think are really local traditional varieties either originating here or associated with the region; many are listed above. Over twenty are not (yet) accessed into the National Fruit collection. And there are also quite a few uncommon varieties from elsewhere in the UK. These are to be conserved, and if we can others that thrive in the local climate.
But there are perhaps 60-70 that MAN does not need to be the conservator. These will be progressively removed though only after we’re sure they aren’t something more valued (maybe DNA analysis will assist in this).
It is a private collection closely associated with a member; there are about 50 trees of varieties typical of the Welsh Marches.
Out smallest collection. Just 15 trees of which half are of local traditional varieties.
2016 Suggested photo: grafting course
Visiting and working in all our orchards is best arranged with prior permission by contacting the Chairman, Membership Secretary or Secretary.