PEARS are defying the odds and growing from a wall in a National Trust park.
For the very first time gardeners are witnessing the autumn fruit grow on the stable wall in Dyrham Park, near Bristol and Bath.
Dyrham Park is to host a Perry Pear Weekend on October 18 and 19 to celebrate its new perry harvest.
Sarah Kinlay is the head gardener at Dyrham Park and is pleased to see years of training pay off. The pears now look more like vines than trees, and have proved a talking point in the park, garden and house.
She said: “For the first time we have allowed the trained pear trees along the stable walls to fruit.
“Over the past few years we have concentrated on getting a good growth spurt on, and so we’ve prevented the trees from bearing fruit. This year they look fantastic.”
The pears, which can be seen all along the stable wall between the tearoom and the seventeenth century mansion house, are dark-coloured, traditionally-shaped Black Worcesters.
This particular variety of pair has a very rich history, and is believed to be the oldest English pear still in use.
Outdoor officer at the park Beth Taylor said: “Back in 1388 monks were growing them, with Romans using them in cooking and for perry making; English longbow-men used them when they ran out of arrows – shooting their enemies with the hard fruit; and the Normans would take them to battle as a source of food when times got tough because they would keep for months.
“They really are a special type of pear.”
Dyrham Park is situated just off the M4 junction 18, and open daily from 10am to 5pm. Further information, including admission prices and details of other events, is available at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrham-park.