Brogdale Farm bought by East Malling Trust

Home to one of the world’s largest collections of heritage fruit trees, Brogdale Farm in Kent has been bought by the horticulture research trust.

Apples on a tree in Cambridgeshire

From its headquarters at Bradbourne House, The East Malling Trust actively supports the horticulture industry through its close working relationship with NIAB East Malling, based at the charity’s 500-acre estate and science campus.

The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale Farm is a living history and home to a rich variety of heritage fruit, curated by Reading University on behalf of DEFRA, with wardens from the Brogdale Collections charity managing access to it. The orchards contain more than 4,000 different varieties of apples, pears, cherries, plums, and other fruits and nuts, and the 150-acre farm has become a hub for fruit enthusiasts, researchers, and visitors from around the globe.

In addition to the Brogdale Collections, the site is also home to 23 businesses, including a café popular with visitors, a brewery and other businesses.

The two organisations have a shared commitment to advancing research, conservation, and education in the field of fruit genetics. The East Malling campus has been at the forefront of pioneering advances in horticulture and has made substantial contributions to the fruit industry. The acquisition of Brogdale Farm further strengthens the Trust’s commitment to fruit research and development.

Dr Oliver Doubleday, Chairman of the board of Trustees of The East Malling Trust said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Brogdale Farm and we look forward to playing our part in maintaining the home of this nationally important collection, which fits perfectly with our charitable objectives. The move is consistent with our mission to advance scientific knowledge and innovation in horticulture; fits with our property portfolio; and utilises our existing estate management skills. We are committed to preserving and enhancing the unique heritage of Brogdale Farm and its collection, and improving the visitor experience. We also have an existing gene bank within the East Malling estate, and there is the potential for collaboration to drive forward future research that will benefit the fruit industry and society as a whole.”