Once described as a forest of fruit trees, Herefordshire is known for its cider and perry. Many farms still have their orchards, the main concentrations are in the area around Much Marcle, between Tenbury Wells and Bromyard, in valleys of the Severn and Avon and the Malvern Hills.
Herefordshire became the leading county for cider apple orcharding with the arrival of Lord Scudamore, who, in the 1600s, championed cider making in Herefordshire and especially his protege the Redstreak, a cider apple he found growing as a wilding and recognised its great potential. It became widely grown in the county and in Gloucestershire and Devon. Another popular cider apple was the Foxwhelp which is still used today.
By the 1800s, the cider industry was in decline in the county and Dr Robert Hogg was commisssioned to carry out an orchard survey. The result was the famous illustrated Herefordshire Pomona published between 1876-85 – which can be seen in the Cider Museum in Hereford. Hogg became known as the ‘father of British pomology’.
The Marcher Apple Network have produced a CD-ROM of the Herefordshire Pomona of 1885 which is for sale. They continue to research varieties of the Welsh Marches and surrounding counties.
There could be as many as 50 small cider producers in the county.
Herefordshire orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- Colwall Orchard Group was founded in 2007, to carry out the first PTES survey of orchards in Colwall. Once we realised that our orchards were in such a poor state, we decided to train ourselves up to carry out rescue pruning and mistletoe management. We have been fortunate in getting a lot of support from the Malvern Hills AONB and various other grant aiding bodies. Over time we have worked in our local orchards, planted new fruit trees, and we now run orchard based events such as a Blossom Picnic, a Mistletoe Fair, Apple Day and a Wassail, to celebrate orchards and persuade others to care about their fate. By 2010 we decided we wanted our own orchard, so in 2011 we managed to buy a former orchard, now known as Colwall Village Garden.
- Lugg’s Mill Orchard was Colwall Orchard Group’s second site acquisition, purchased in 2016. The 2.5 acre site is also located in Old Church Road, Colwall – a short walk from our main land at Colwall Village Garden. This attractive piece of land was the site of a former water- powered corn mill in the 19th century, and the stream that previously supplied the mill with water dissects the site in two. We have planted up the site with a new cherry orchard to one half and a new apple orchard in the other half, with over 100 trees present overall. In addition we’ve recently planted a new mixed native species hedgerow and are working on improving access to and within the site for the benefit of all. You are welcome to walk around the land and a public footpath crosses the site. Parking is on a layby by the entrance to the site on Old Church Road.
- Colwall Village Garden, which combines our village allotments with a community orchard. Since then we have replanted the orchard and restored the Apple Packing Shed to form a base for our activities. We are currently the ‘Herefordshire Hub’ for the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project and are working to support other communities in the county in looking after their orchards.
- Marcher Apple Network (MAN) -Rhwydwaith Afalau’r Gororau – is involved in the preservation of old varieties, helping members and the public with orcharding matters and attending many agricultural shows during the autumn providing an identification service. Provides an extensive library service, runs courses and lists of local events. MAN has published the Herefordshire Pomona and the Welsh Marches Pomona. A CD is available giving almost 400 descriptions of cider apples and perry pears.
- Orchard Origins and Orchard Origins blog – a social enterprise that is committed to preserving traditional orchards and their rich biodiversity. With sensitive management, our aim is to help these important wildlife habitats survive and thrive. Wholly owned by the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, launched in 2012 with help from the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme. Orchard Origins offers a range of fruit tree pruning services and orchard assessment. We specialise in orchards that balance fruit production with supporting wildlife. Pruning is undertaken by staff on an hourly or daily basis, either with or without volunteers. All work is supervised. We want to pass on our skills to others. Friends and family are always welcome to join us so that we can share the whys and hows of what we do. All the income from our pruning services goes toward supporting the environmental and social goals of Orchard Origins.
- Three Counties Cider and Perry Association – The Three Counties Cider and Perry Association is the organisation which represents, supports and promotes the interests of craft scale cider and perry producers, primarily based in the Three Counties region of the UK (Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire). This region has a rich heritage of cider & perry making, and has more orchards than anywhere else in the UK. We provide a friendly and educational platform for new or existing cider makers to learn more about technical, commercial and legislational aspects of the cider industry.
- Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project (TCTOP) – The Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project aims to restore 25 traditional orchards in key orchard areas in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire and by involving the owners and local people in the restoration, ensure that the skills and knowledge needed stay in the community. A Heritage Lottery Funded Project has meant that work is being carried out on: Gorsley, Kilcot and Longney in Gloucestershire; Whitbourne, Breinton and Ross on Wye in Herefordshire; and Rochford & Tenbury, Evesham, Pershore and Alfrick in Worcestershire.
Where to buy trees in Herefordshire
- Ashgrove Farm Cider produce traditional cider from own cider apple orchards which are of standard trees, organic, and managed under Environmental Stewardship. Also produce Orchard Bee, a cider with honey. Ashgrove Farm, Marden, Hereford HR1 3EY. 01568 797 867
- HP Bulmer Ltd – The largest cider maker, producing brands such as Strongbow and Woodpecker as well as traditional ciders. Products widely available in shops, pubs and restaurants.
- Tom the Apple Man – Tom Adams grows a range of heritage varieties traditionally grown along the English/Welsh borderland, from Cheshire down to Gloucestershire, plus other varieties that show resistance to scab and canker that grow well in the English/Welsh borders region. Trees are grown without the use of chemicals and natural methods of pest control. The nursery is full of wild flowers and herbs that attract predatory insects and birds such as blue tits that feed on aphids. A grafting service is available.
- Once upon A Tree & Dragon Orchard – Dragon Orchard is a small traditional fruit farm that has been tended by the Stanier family for nearly 90 years. They have been innovative in championing local food and over the past few years have helped bridge the gap between producers and consumers with the Cropsharers and Sponsor A Tree scheme. They own and run the Three Counties Cider Shop in Ledbury, offering cider and perry from a whole range of local cider makers, with many available for tasting.
- Dunkertons Organic Cider -Use traditional varieties of organic cider apples and pears grown in their own orchards. Each variety of cider apple is picked, pressed and fermented separately, then stored for at least a year before being hand blended. Some cider blends may use up to 10 different varieties of apple. To make perry they use traditional pear varieties such as Moorcroft, Thorn, Merrylegs, and Brandy.
- Gregg’s Pit Cider & Perry – Small scale producer of craft perry and cider. Much Marcle HR8 2NL. 01531 660687.
- Gwatkin Cider produces traditional farmhouse cider and perry draught and bottled, made in oak vats. Available from farm shop or online. Moorhampton Park Farm, Abbey Dore HR2 0AL. 01981 550258
- Henney’s Cider Co. Produce Frome Valley Sweet and Dry Cider and England’s Pride Medium from cider apples usually a selection of Dabinett, Ashton Bitter, Tremletts Bitter, Yarlington Mill and Micehlin. The fruit is sourced from traditional and bush orchards in Herefordshire. Widely available in shops.
- The Hop Pocket Wine Company offer a wide range of wines, beers, ciders and spirits from the Three Counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire with over 80 wines from over 14 local vineyards, over 90 local ciders and perries throughout the season, and up to 100 real ales. There are locally produced cider brandies and liqueurs, fruit gins and vodkas, and a range of local apple and pear juices made from 100% fresh pressed fruit.
- Jus – single blend apple juice from English grown apples. Grow many varieties of apples themselves and for the less common varieties used, source and use apples that are locally grown in Herefordshire. Available at events and via mail order online. Jus Apples, Aylton, Ledbury, Herefordshire, UK. HR8 2QH. Tel: 01531 670 749
- The Nest, Little Verzons Fruit Farm – sell wide range of local produce including local ciders.
- Newton Court Cider – Newton’s Cider is produced from organically grown standard trees at Newton, and their perry is made from perry pears in local orchards and gardens. Organic cider, Gasping Goose, now for sale. Available online, at Newton Court or various outlets. Newton Court, Leominster HR6 0PF. 01568 611721
- Oliver’s Cider and Perry – Cider and perrys produced at the Oliver’s restored Perry & Cider House, using apples and pears from their own trees and from other local growers, all unsprayed trees. Unique single varietals and blends, fermented in wild yeasts and matured in aged oak barrels. Available bottled and draught. Online shop and available in a growing number of countries including Austria, Finland, Holland, Norway, Russia and USA . The Old Hop Kilns, Moorhouse Farm, Ocle Pychard. 01432 820569
- Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry Co. – based at Broome Farm in Peterstow where cider and perry has been made since 1930. There are now over 100 varieties of apples and 30 varieties of perry pears growing on the farm. The cider and perry is produced purely and simply in the traditional way. Have a Cider Shop at The Yew Tree Inn at Peterstow and market cider, perry and apple juice online.
- Westons Cider – Produce over 30 different ciders & perries from cloudy scrumpy through to organic, sparkling vintage. Widely available, you can buy direct, online, go on a cider mill tour and eat at the Scrumpy House Restaurant. Exports to over 40 countries. H. Weston & Sons, The Bounds, Much Marcle, HR8 2NQ. 01531 660233
Orchard services and produce in Herefordshire
- a’Beckett’s Vineyard – The Langham Family Vineyard produces sparkling and still wines along with cider and apple juice. There is a 800 tree orchard comprising dessert, culinary, cider apples and perry pears. Trees are 20-60 years old and the orchards are organically managed. They run a community apple pressing scheme. On site shop and online shop. High Street, Littleton Panell, Devizes SN10 4EN. 01380 816669
- The Cotswold Cider Company – Rory Souter makes cider using ‘vintage’ cider apple varieties from the local area. The Mill House, Coleshill, Swindon SN6 7PT. 07979 957136
- My Apple Juice provide a community apple juicing service from their base at Warren Farm. Many people who have more apples than they want back as juice – kindly bring along their extra fruit anyway so it does not go to waste. They then bottle, pasteurise and label – and sell on to people who would like locally grown, minimally processed & transported apple juice. They also sell Elderflower cordial from elderflowers collected within a 400 m radius. Warren Farm, Savernake Forest, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 3BQ.
- The Herefordshire Cider Route – is available from Herefordshire Tourism. You can also order a cider cycling route leaflet.
- Cider Museum and King Offa Distillery – founded in 1973 to preserve the history of cider making. The extensive collection includes cider mills, presses, bottles, old photographs, watercolours, advertising memorabilia and a rare collection of English lead crystal cider flutes. Gift shop and tea room. 21 Ryelands Street, Hereford HR4 0LW. 01432 354207