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Somerset

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Somerset and cider share the same breath – over 156 varieties of apple are recorded as having a connection with the county. Yet over 50% of Somerset’s orchards have gone in the last 50 years. Glastonbury was called Avalon, ‘The Isle of Apples’ by Iron Age people.

“Most varieties of cider apple remain fairly local in their distribution, some living and dying quite unknown beyond a farm or village” Liz Copas, The Somerset Pomona.

Most of the orchards are of cider apple trees – comprising tall, well-spaced trees with are usually undergrazed with sheep or cattle. Cider apples have special qualities. They are broken down into groups such as ‘sharps’ which are apples of high acidity and low tannin. A typical example is the variety Frederick which produces a deep red cider. Other groups are the ‘bittersharps’ with varieties such as the famous Kingston Black and Stoke Red, ‘bittersweets’ are high in tannin – Yarlington Mill, Dabinet and Hangydown are good examples. ‘Sweets’ include Court Royal and Sweet Coppin. These can be blended to give the desired taste, though there is an increasing tendency for single variety ciders now.

 

Somerset orchard groups

To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map

  • South West of England Cider Makers Association is a group dedicated to supporting the needs of professional cider makers and apple growers in the South West region
  • Orchardshare – A community group, run by volunteers who work to conserve and maintain orchards to supply locally grown apples around Bath, UK

 

Where to buy trees in Somerset

  • Chew Valley Trees – 25 varieties of apples on various rootstocks, pears, plums, cherries, damson, quince. Nursery open. Online ordering and delivery service available. Winford Road, Chew Magna, Bristol BS40 8HJ 01275 333752
  • Cider Apple Trees – About 50 varieties of cider apple trees available and 50 eating and culinary varieties. Also plums, pears and damsons. Specialise in supplying standard apple trees.  01963 220855 or email whittick445@btinternet.com
  • Habitat Aid Ltd – Online shop, supplying native British trees, plants and seeds, sourced from small British nurseries, growers and harvesters. Half of the profits to specialist charities. A wide variety of orchard and nut trees available. Varieties originating in South West of apple, mazzard cherry and pear available from supplier nursery in Yorkshire. 01749 812355

 

Orchard services and produce in Somerset

  • Somerset Cider and Apple Juice Map – Map leaflet showing locations and contact details of 26 cider and 4 apple juice producers in Somerset. Gives a brief history of cider making, features the cider making year, lists cider apple varieties and provides links to further information.
  • Bere Cider Company  make cider and apple juice from apples collected from both their own and neighbouring farms’ traditional orchards. Woodpecker Lodge, Bere, Aller, Langport, TA10 OQX. 01458 250166
  • Black Rat Cider is produced in Somerset for Moles Brewery of Melksham, Wiltshire. It is produced traditionally in a family Somerset cider farmhouse using a blend of locally grown apples
  • Bridge Farm Cider use their own apples and those from other local orchards. Available from the farm in summer and at local farmers’ markets. Also produce apple juice and cider brandy. East Chinnock, nr Yeovil BA22 9EA. 01935 862387
  • Charlton Orchards – sell traditional varieties of fruit. 30 varieties of apples are available. Also soft fruit, plums, damsons, pears, pumpkins and squash. 10 single variety apple juices. Apples and squash available via mail order. Creech St Michael TA3 5PF. 01823 412959
  • Pennard Organic Wines and Ciders – Avalon Vineyard –  produce organic English wines and fruit wines including plum, elderberry and apple, mead, fruit liqueurs and cider all organic certified. The cider is made using straw on an ancient hand turned cider press. Available in the Vineyard shop, some local shops and online. Avalon Vineyard,  The Drove, East Pennard, Shepton Mallet BA4 6UA. 01749 860393
  • Ermie & Gertie’s Apple Juice & Cider – Small scale cider makers . They also make ice creams and sorbets including Apple and Cider Brandy sorbet.
  • Hecks Farmhouse Cider – Somerset cider, including single variety ciders, perry & 12 varieties of apple juice. Chris & Andrew Hecks: 9-11 Middle Leigh, Street, BA16 0LB. 01458 442367
  • North Perrott Fruit Farm – Apple, plums and pears from the farm shop. PYO apples July-Oct. Farm produced 29 different single variety apple juices widely available locally.
  • The Orchard Pig – Apple juice and cider makers using fruit from their traditional cider orchard and nearby orchards. The orchard is home to Old Spots (Orchard Pigs).  West Bradley Orchard, West Bradley, Nr Glastonbury BA6 8LT.
  • Perry’s Cider Mills – Cider farm and museum. Single variety (Dabinett,Morgan Sweet and Somerset Redstreak) cider,  farmhouse ciders and apple juice produced. Farm shop or online shop. Dowlish Wake, Ilminster TA19 0NY.
  • The Bailiff’s Cottage – Over 100 different varieties of English Apple Juice. Also ciders and cider vinegar, perry, plum juice, and pear juice sold at Bath Farmers’ Market and others. Contact Keith Goverd. The Green, Compton Dando, BS39 4LE. 01761 490624
  • Rich’s Farmhouse Cider – family run business offering a range of farmhouse ciders and farmpressed apple juice. Available from the Cider Farm Shop and Cider Press Restaurant. Rich’s have been producing cider for more than 50 years, and in 2000 planted a new orchard of 500 standard cider apple trees. Mill Farm, Watchfield, Nr Highbridge TA9 4RD. 01278 783651
  • Sheppy’s Cider – Rural life museum and cider farm centre, guided tours of the 55 acre orchards. You can visit the cellars and modern press room. Produce cider including single varieties, cider with honey, fruit cider and apple juice. Three Bridges, Bradford on Tone TA4 1ER. 01823 461233
  • Somerset Cider Vinegar – Made from pure Somerset cider apple juice.
  • The Somerset Distillery & Burrow Hill Cider – Farmhouse cider and cider brandy distilled from Somerset apples and matured for up to 20 years in small oak barrels. Burrow Hill, Kingsbury Episcopi, Martock TA12 6BU. 01460 240782
  • Torre Cider Farm produce apple juice, cider vinegar and cider made from traditional varieties in their own and other local orchards. Also other local produce, and a café. 01984 640004.
  • Thatchers Cider – Produce cider using various varieties including Katy, Cox’s, Tremlett’s bitter, Yarlington Mill, Dabinett and Somerset Redstreak. Have 370 acres of orchard and have developed hedgerow planting. Farm shop or buy online. Myrtle Farm, Sandford, Winscombe BS25 5RA.  01934 822862

 

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