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Local Wedding Venue Launches Living Museum Project to Preserve Rare Heritage Welsh Apples

As part of its multifaceted sustainability pledge to uphold its position within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Tower Hill Barn's Head Gardener and Horticulturalist, Mr Sean Bradnack, is on the way to planting 57 varieties of Welsh heritage apple trees in the grounds of the venue.

Above; Tower Hill Barns, Trevor (Image (c) Photography Joe Bickerton)

Mr Bradnack says the orchard features rare and endangered apple varieties, and he hopes the project will add extra oomph to the venue's dedicated sustainability efforts.

"I wanted to create this Heritage Orchard as a kind of "living museum" of extremely old and rare Welsh apple varieties, to help ensure their survival for future generations to enjoy."

Mr Bradnack has always liked orchards, especially walking in them. He says he was propelled into action after speaking with a neighbour, Shropshire based Tom, 'The Apple Man' known for preserving organic varieties of historically rare Welsh/English border apples.

"This orchard is about celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the region whilst ensuring these rare apple varieties don’t drop off the historical timeline altogether," said Mr Bradnack

"Some of the varieties are on the brink of extinction because newer apple varieties, like the Gala, which we feel are not nearly as tasty as some as our heritage varieties, became favourites in supermarkets due to years of commercial marketing," he says.

"But we’re now seeing a resurgence in interest in these heritage apples. I think it’s the pioneers, the apple discoverers and the likes of Ian Sturrock who rediscovered the Bardsey Island apple - once touted the rarest apple on earth - and the media interest from that, that’s really allowing the fruits of these efforts to ripen."

He said the project is being planted in two phases, with 30 varieties already planted – including a mix of cooking apples, eaters, and cider-apples – and another 27 to be added in the second phase.

The project has many goals, not only to preserve the genetic pool of these endangered apples, but also to support local biodiversity and encourage bees, flora and fauna to re-wild the venue’s green surroundings.

Above; Tower Hill Barns, Trevor (Image (c) Photography Joe Bickerton)

Tower Hill Barns, which prides itself on its countryside location and continues to consciously consider its place in the natural world, says it’s important to ensure they do as little damage as possible in their small corner of Wales. And also, to give back. In a statement issued as part of their Earth Day campaign, the venue pledged 'to be a sustainable, environmentally conscious company committed to making decisions today that will improve our environmental standing tomorrow.’

Known for its cocktails and ‘seriously good wedding food’, the luxury wedding venue is excited for the orchard’s first season of apples, expected within four to five years.

"Not only will it offer a new and beautiful space and backdrop for our couples to capture incredible wedding photos, we’ll have the added bonus of delicious apples to use in the kitchen and the bar," says venue owner Sally Marshall.

Apple pies, compote, chutneys, apple juice and liquor-infused dried apples for cocktail garnishes are just some of the culinary delights that will be on offer. And in the future, the venue may even be able to offer its own homemade cider.

‘I’m excited to be a part of this important work, and can't wait to see the project continue to grow and flourish,’ says Mr Bradnack.

The living museum of heritage Welsh apple trees is planted in the grounds of Tower Hill Barns, an award winning countryside barn wedding venue between Wrexham and Llangollen in North Wales.

Visit Tower Hill Barns's website at;


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