Cwmdonkin Park – City of Sanctuary Orchard

In spring 2021, a total of nine fruit trees were planted in the park, on the slope above the tennis courts.  More will follow in the course of the next year – but nine fruit trees means that it is officially recognised as an orchard. 

The orchard has been achieved with the support and help of The Orchard Project, a national charity dedicated to the creation, restoration and celebration of community orchards.  The Orchard Project’s aim is that every household in the UK’s town and cities should be within walking distance of a productive, well-cared-for, community-run orchard.   After a feasibility study carried out in Autumn 2019 and various consultation meetings, Cwmdonkin Park was selected as one of the first locations for such an orchard in Wales.

With the help of the two project managers for Swansea (Kate Davies and Witchhazel Wildwood), and support from The Moondance Foundation, members of Friends of Cwmdonkin Park have been trained as Orchard Leaders.  The Orchard Leaders and The Orchard Project collaborated in planting the nine trees in the spring.  We look forward to seeing them bud, flower, and fruit as the seasons pass.  

The nine trees in the initial planting are as follows:

Top row (left to right when facing up the slope) 

Cox’s Orange Pippin; Machen apple; two Cariad cherries; Pig yr Wydd Apple, Cox’s Orange Pippin

Lower row

Cox Cymreig apple;  Pig Aderyn Apple; Channel beauty apple.

All but two are Welsh varieties and we are of course delighted to offer sanctuary to two English Cox’s Orange Pippins. Details of the Welsh varieties are as follows: 

Machen         A once very popular early red dual purpose apple from Caerphilly. Initially a cooker which later ripens to a juicy eater.

Cariad Cherry    A  self-fertile cherry adapted to the Welsh climate, resulting from a cross between the varieties Stella and Napoleon Bigarreau, which was then crossed with a Devon Mazzard. The cherry trees have been tested along the banks of the Menai Straits for at least ten years.

Pig yr Wydd  Originally from Carmarthen, this is a locally famous cooking apple from Dinefwr. The fruit has pale green skin with a slight pink flush. Pig yr Wydd means “goose’s beak” in Welsh.

Cox Cymreig  This originated at Goetre Bach, near Felinheli, North Wales.  A medium sized eating apple balancing  sweetness and acidity. 

Pig Aderyn   An old Welsh variety, perhaps of Norman origin,  still found at St Dogmaels Abbey near Carmarthen. A midseason eating apple with sweet and juicy flesh. It is green skinned with deep scarlet stripes. The top of the apple resembles a bird’s beak which is “pig aderyn” in Welsh. Channel Beauty  Some of these old apple trees are still found growing in the Swansea area. It was raised by C.H.Evans, Mumbles. It was received into the National Fruit Collection in 1922. It was colloquially known as “Gower/Gwyr”. It is a  heavy cropping late dessert apple with a good savoury taste –  crisp and juicy.