Event Details

TALK: Sussex Apples & Orchards

TALK: Sussex Apples & Orchards

Enjoy a cultural history of Sussex apple growing with author and grower Peter May.

There are over 34 varieties of apple which come from Sussex, many with a name like Hawkridge or Wadhurst Pippin which link them to a particular farm or town in the county. Some varieties like Bossom are exceptionally rare while Doctor Hogg, an excellent cooking apple, is named after an eminent apple expert of the 19th century. Golden Pippin has the oldest recorded history with a reference from 1629 at Parham Park.

The apples vary greatly in colour, size and taste from the intense red of Saltcote Pippin to the yellow and green of Edmund Jupp or Duck’s Bill with its intensely fluted shape.

Peter’s illustrated talk discusses the origin of apple varieties and how they have become a part of our mythology, history and culture. As recently as 1955 there were 3000 hectares of orchards grown in Sussex and we look at the lives of the growers who cultivated the orchards which were such an important part of the local economy and examine the reasons why there was such a rapid decline in apple cultivation after that decade.

About the speaker

Peter May grows many of the Sussex apple varieties at his tree nursery in Cooksbridge and, working with the Brighton Permaculture Trust, has planted orchards with schools and community groups across the county. He is one of the contributing authors to Apples and Orchards in Sussex and runs training courses in fruit tree grafting and the planting and care of orchards.