Somerset cider expert toasts “sweetest” year for decade as Barrington Court’s apple season ends

More than 650 gallons of cider has been pressed at the National Trust’s Barrington Court estate, Somerset, in a year that the charity’s cider expert says has produced the sweetest apple crop for a decade.

Gardeners and volunteers at the Somerset estate pressed the last of the apple crop on Monday (21 November). Over three months volunteers picked more than 12 tonnes of apples in Barrington Court’s orchards – equivalent to the weight of two African elephants. The apple crop is expected to produce over 1,000 gallons of cider and apple juice.

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Apples are prepared for pressing at Barrington Court, Somerset. More than 12 tonnes of apples have been pressed by volunteers at the Somerset estate, in a year that the National Trust’s pommelier claims has produced the sweetest juice for a decade. (c) National Trust Images/William Sha

Rachel Brewer, National Trust Gardener and Pommelier at Barrington Court in Somerset, said: “This year’s apple juice has been one of the sweetest that I can remember making in the last ten years.

“I was worried that a too-sunny summer would stunt our crop. Thankfully, a little rain late in the summer left us with lovely sweet and juicy apples – which should produce strong cider. With the recent storms, we were lucky that we got our apple crop harvested in time.”

It will take around 13 weeks for the cider to naturally ferment; the cider made this week should be ready to drink by Valentine’s Day.

Ms Brewer continued: “It’s said that you should never drink the cider until you hear the first cuckoo in April. But I’m sure there’ll be a few love birds taking a quick swig of cider a few months early.”

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Apples are prepared for the cider press at Barrington Court, Somerset. (c) National Trust Images/William Shaw

National Trust orchards across Britain have enjoyed a bumper apple crop following fine late-summer weather.

  • At Gibside, near Newcastle, gardeners estimate that they have already collected a quarter tonne of apples, with up to two more tonnes of fruit thought to still be on the trees.
  • Acorn Bank, near Penrith, has enjoyed one of their best apple harvests ever. Chris Braithwaite, head gardener at the Lake District estate, puts the success down to warm May weather.
  • In Wales, gardeners at Llanerchaeron in Ceredigion have seen the number of apples sold through their shop triple compared to last year.
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