School pupils plant trees in University’s heritage orchard

Pupils from Ysgol Rhydypennau plant a tree in the Living History Garden, Aberystwyth University

Pupils from Ysgol Rhydypennau plant a tree in the Living History Garden, Aberystwyth University

09 February 2024

Primary school pupils from the Aberystwyth area have planted apple trees in a heritage fruit orchard at Aberystwyth University today, Friday 9 February.

In an event organised to mark St Teilo’s Day, the Welsh patron saint of fruit trees, pupils planted traditional Welsh variety apple trees including Croen Mochyn, Marged Nicholas, Nant Gwrtheyrn, Gelli Aur, Afal Cas Gwent and Gabalfa.

The University’s heritage fruit orchard project aims to help to protect important historic varieties of Welsh fruit trees from extinction.

Planting a tree as part of the project were pupils from Ysgol Comins Coch, Ysgol Rhydypennau, and Ysgol Padarn Sant.  Trees were also planted by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jon Timmis, and Aberystwyth Mayor, Councillor Kerry Ferguson.

Pupils also attended a short talk by the University’s Sustainability Manager, Dewi Day, on the University’s ambitions to become a carbon neutral campus by 2030, including the recent solar development.

The heritage fruit orchard is part of Aberystwyth University’s Living History Garden project, which has transformed a piece of University farmland at Penglais into a resource for staff, students and community growers.

Pupils from Ysgol Comins Coch plant a tree in the Living History Garden

Professor Siân Nicholas from the Department of History and Welsh History is one of the founders of the Living History Garden project.  She said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome local school pupils to the Living History Garden site today, and for them to play their part in preserving and protecting these ancient Welsh varieties of fruit trees.  I hope that the pupils will return in the future to see how their trees grow and to sample some of their fruit.

“The new heritage fruit orchard complements the work of plant breeders on our Gogerddan Campus, who are working to ensure that scientists and growers have access to a genetic resource for all of Wales’s ancient fruit tree varieties.”

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jon Timmis, said:

“I am delighted to have been able to plant a tree as part of this exciting project.  Over the next few years, the University intends to plant over 150 fruit trees, one for each year since the University first opened its doors in 1872. It is our hope that the heritage orchard will become a legacy site for study, enjoyment and wellbeing for the University and local community.” 

Situated in between Pentre Jane Morgan and Fferm Penglais student accommodation, the University’s Living History Garden project also encompasses a World War II era allotment inspired by a 1942 pamphlet which encouraged people to turn their gardens into ‘Dig for Victory’ vegetable plots. 

Over the past two years, the produce from the plot has been distributed amongst volunteers and donated to Aber Food Surplus and the St Paul’s Methodist Church community lunch programme. 

As well as plans to plant more ancient varieties of Welsh fruit trees over the coming years, there are also proposals to cultivate a medieval-style herb garden, and wildflower meadow area.

Pupils from Ysgol Padarn Sant plant a tree in the Living History Garden