Nottingham

Japanese tourists visit first Bramley tree in Southwell

Japanese apple producers with the Bramley apple tree
Image caption The tree, which is more than 200 years old, still produces apples

A group of Japanese tourists have visited Southwell in Nottinghamshire to see the original Bramley apple tree.

The visit was arranged so Japanese apple producers could find out about the history of the Bramley and learn about the latest growing techniques.

The Bramley apple is now grown and sold in Japan.

The group visited the famous tree planted by Mary Ann Brailsford in 1809 and saw the stained glass Bramley window in Southwell Minster.

'Nearly cried'

Ceila Steven is the great-granddaughter of Henry Merryweather who introduced the Bramley apple commercially to the UK more than 150 years ago.

She said: "I think it's marvellous [that the tree attracts international visitors]. I hope it carries on because it's so important.

"The Bramley is what they [the Japanese] love and what they grow themselves. What they see in Southwell they'll take back to Japan and that'll help tourism in Nottinghamshire."

Apple producer Hiroki Tomioka said: "I'm trying to popularise the Bramley apple in Japan. I'm so impressed [with the tree] I nearly cried."

The tourists will also visit John Starkey's Bramley orchard and the Bramley Centre, to see a display of old photos of Southwell, on Friday.

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