Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has signed an agreement to allow a South Wales company to grow cider apples and perry pears on its land.
Under the deal, Afal y Graig, an artisan cider and perry maker, will lease four parcels of land from NRW in the Afan Valley, near Port Talbot.
The agreement will boost the local economy, improve the environment for wildlife, particularly pollinators, and provide education and recreation facilities for local people.
The four sites will be used to grow Welsh heritage apples and pears as well as those of a cider variety.
Cider and perry have become more and more popular over recent years with the industry valued at almost £1bn to the UK economy last year.
Although there’s a clear economic benefit the orchard will also have a positive impact on the environment and local community.
Jonathan Price, Community Ranger for NRW, said:
“We pride ourselves on being able to manage Wales’ natural resources in a way that benefits its environment, its economy and its people.
“This project will not only help the economy but will add to biodiversity, attract pollinators and provide education and recreation in the area.
“This agreement is the first of its kind and we can’t wait to start working with Afal y Graig.”
Afal y Graig is an award winning cider and perry company and is looking to expand on its orchard in Cwmafan, Port Talbot.
Clearing work on the sites is set to start in September with tree planting taking place through the winter.