The Herefordshire parishes of the Marcle Ridge are once again celebrating harvestime in the orchards, with a collection of events, walks and talks with many opportunities to taste and purchase apples, juice and cider. Local farms, cider-mills and cottage venues will be opening their doors to visitors over the weekend. Many events are within walking distance of each other, but Westons Cider have also kindly offered their tractor-&-trailer to carry visitors between some of the venues.
An amazing range of dessert, cooking and cider apples will be available to taste and admire at the Feast of Apples in the beautiful surroundings of the Great Barn at Hellens. Over 20 varieties of local apples will be on sale. On Saturday, those seeking advice on the planting and care of fruit trees will be able to join one of three talk/tours of Hellens fruit tree collection, led by visiting expert Tom Adams.
Visitors to Hellens will also be able to select their favourite apple name and then create a simple textile hanging with Jeanette McCulloch. These hangings will be used the following day to create a backdrop for Herefordshire Poet in Residence, Paul Henry, who will be sharing his online Poetry Orchard. In this ‘virtual’ orchard, developed with Ledbury Poetry Festival, each poem takes its title from a named Herefordshire apple variety. Paul will be joined by some of the contributors who will read their poems at 2.30pm on Sunday at Hellens.
Cider and perry making at differing scales will be on show at Gregg’s Pit, Woodredding Farm, Avenue Cottage, Hellens and Westons. On Sunday morning at Woodredding, Brian Robbins will be offering a ‘Taste of History’, sharing the story of cidermaking over 200 years on the family farm.
With organised walks and cycle rides, apple-inspired lunches and teas, this is an excellent opportunity to enjoy Herefordshire countryside. The full programme is available at www.bigapple.org.uk.