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News article created on 23 March 2015

Commemorative orchard takes root next to Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

A new orchard of local variety fruit trees has been planted on the banks of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal as part of Brecon Women’s Festival.

Representatives from the festival joined local community initiative Green Valleys and Glandŵr Cymru, the Canal & River Trust in Wales, to plant a commemorative tree in a new fruit orchard on the banks of the canal near Brecon. 

The orchard, of seven trees in total, is sponsored by local residents and businesses.  Once they reach maturity, Green Valleys plan to use fruit from the trees in their annual juicing sessions, while nearby business The Hours Café and Bookshop will look to use the cooking apples to make apple treats.

Orchards have always been traditionally found along the waterways, with small orchards often sited at lock and bridge keepers’ houses and used as free larders by generations of boaters. Agricultural changes, lack of demand, and competition from imports have all contributed to the decline of local orchards and varieties of fruit trees.

A real boost

Laura Parry, our ecologist, said: “We’re really grateful to The Green Valleys initiative and the volunteers, who have had an amazing impact on the area by the canal. Orchards are part of the history of the canals, and are absolutely fantastic wildlife habitats too. Local mammals, birds and insects will all get a real boost from the trees being here in the years to come.”

Leigh Hendra, from The Hours Café and Bookshop, joint organiser of the festival, said: “One of the prevailing aims of Brecon Women's Festival is to create a lasting legacy. We were thrilled this year when the Green Valleys initiative mooted the idea of planting a small orchard, and now, thanks to Glandŵr Cymru this plan has come to fruition. This is a wonderful example of community groups and organisations working together to do something really positive for a town we all hold very dear.”