Bardsey Apple Introduction

Wales displays two prominent peninsulas: Llyn in the North and Pembroke in the South. Between them is the broad sweep of Cardigan Bay. Two miles out to sea off the tip of the Llyn Peninsula lies Bardsey Island (Welsh name Ynys Enlli).

Aerial View of Bardsey Island

Bardsey Island has long been associated with religious activity. Pre-Roman Celts visited the island to pray and often to die on this most western isle as they followed the setting sun. During early Christian times Bardsey Island was a place of pilgrimage. There is a pilgrim's route along the North Wales coast with a string of churches built along the way. Indeed three trips to Bardsey was considered equal to a pilgrimage to Rome. Anybody buried on Bardsey was guaranteed eternal salvation.

Thirteenth Century Abbey Remains on Bardsey Island

On the island itself are the remains of the thirteenth century abbey as well as a large grave yard. Many people still use the island as a religious retreat.

The island is also of interest to ornithologists since it is a stop over for many migrating birds. The first UK bird observatory was on Bardsey.

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In 1998 my friend Andy Clarke was using a mist net to catch passing birds in order to ring them. To bait his net he picked some windfall apples from under a gnarled old tree growing up the side of one of the island's houses called Plas Bach.

The Bardsey Island Lighthouse

Andy, a keen organic gardener, noticed that the fruit and the tree were free of disease, a very unusual occurrence in north Wales. He later brought several of the fruit to me for identification. I didn't recognise the apples and subsequently sent them to the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent where Dr Joan Morgan the country's leading fruit historian declared that the fruit and the tree were unique. "The rarest tree in the world" clamoured the media.

I have now produced trees from the mother tree on the island. As yet we have little information as to how the tree performs on the mainland. I hope to use this website to collate information regarding the tree and its fruit. If you have any information about the Bardsey Island tree or fruit then please use the Bulletin Board, or contact Ian Sturrock and Sons

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The Llyn Peninsula

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Bardsey Island

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