Newton’s Apple Tree Seedling

Last November, through a unique partnership with The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), Jodrell Bank received a very special delivery of apple seeds.

The seeds had come to us directly from the National Trust’s Woolsthorpe Manor, the birthplace of renowned physicist Sir Isaac Newton and home to probably the world’s most famous apple tree. It is from that tree, which is said to have provided the inspiration for Newton to think about gravity and to eventually produce his famous work “Principia”, that these seeds were harvested.

On receiving the seeds, we eagerly planted them, kept them cool in the fridge mimicking the winter period, and eventually exposed them to the warmth of the first spring sunshine. We’re delighted to say that a seedling has now emerged!

We are extremely excited about our new baby tree, a direct offspring of Newton’s apple tree, as it forms a new and unique link between Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Bernard Lovell, the founder of Jodrell Bank Observatory. Lovell himself was a botany enthusiast and started the now extensive collection of crab apple trees and many other species in the Jodrell Bank Gardens.

We hope the little seedling will grow into a strong and prolific apple tree and become a focal point of our gardens and our community orchard. But most of all we hope it will inspire scientists of the future to follow in Sir Isaac’s footsteps – hopefully without, as the story goes, being hit by a falling apple!

The Gardens and Lovell Tree Collection are accessible to visitors of the Discovery Centre (general admission applies). Keep an eye out for our special programme of outdoor activities and garden tours during the school holidays, which will be advertised here. If you would like to get even more involved with the natural heritage at Jodrell Bank consider coming to one of our Garden Volunteering days.