The National Perry Pear collection was primarily established to provide a living botanical collection of perry pear fruit trees and a genetic resource for the nation. As signatories of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the UK government has a legally binding obligation to preserve its food plant genetic material. The Perry Pear is also a part of the cultural and traditional history of this part of Gloucestershire.
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture defines ‘in-situ’ conservation as meaning ‘the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties’. The Perry Pear originated in ‘wildings’ of feral pears found growing in the villages such as Hartpury, on the borders of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The orchards of the National Perry Pear Centre provide good in situ conservation.
As well as maintaining the nation’s collection of perry pears, the Centre also publishes research manuals and undertakes fruit trials and other investigations. These activities are inevitably limited by the absence of any form of funding support.