Cider and Perry Trail

Notes Perry is made from (perry) pears, cider from apples. Pictures on this page taken during the Big Apple variation of Cider Cycling Route, October 2003 and 2004. Elsewhere, a few pictures from 2007 Big Apple cycle ride.

This page covers mainly Herefordshire and Worcestershire, plus a fair bit of Gloucestershire.

Also See


Exploring Cider and Perry

Juice flowing off press at Gregg's PitThe Cider Cycling Route starting from Ledbury is a good one to follow, especially in the spring (blossom) or autumn (harvest and cider production). The leaflet is well worth getting and we’ve also made a GPX file available of the shorter route (17 miles) – see Cycling page. And watch out for Big Apple related bike rides and see Producers info below for places en route.

There is also a Cider Cycling Route based around Pembridge, but unfortunately, no details available on the web. Obtain the leaflet from a Herefordshire Tourist Information Centre.

Cider Route web site has a good section on the cycle trail, perry, interesting facts, history etc, as well as info on the larger Herefordshire car route.

The Golden Fire app released in June 2016 is well worth installing on your mobile device. It “pulls together the rich history of cider production in Herefordshire with an up-to-date guide to all the ciders being made in the county today”. This includes a useful map. Hope they keep the app updated.

Visit the Cider Museum in Hereford.

The Real Cider and Perry Page is a good source, but check the notes for updates. CAMRA has an interest in cider and perry and celebrates October as Cider & Perry Month. Real enthusiasts might want to check out ukcider – their main site has a ‘Cider Pub Guide‘ for many parts of the country. Also check out the Cider Workshop website, connected with a Google Group for craft cider and perry makers and enthusiasts.

Ragmans Lane Farm (Forest of Dean) runs a Cider and Apple Juice Weekend in October (look under Courses on the web site). They sell their apple juice locally.

There is a Three Counties Cider and Perry Association

The Three Counties Showground has the National Collection of Perry Pear Trees – “the most comprehensive collection of perry pear trees in the country, many of them rare”.

More of an apple and pear focus

Just one table of apple varieties, Big Apple 04Big Apple Weekends celebrating blossom and harvest are centred around Much Marcle, October and Putley, May: see Events page. Apple pictures (right and below) are from The Feast of Apples display and tasting event, 2004.

The Food Programme did a Pears and Perry feature in October 2006.

Marcher Apple Network promotes the revival of old apple and pear varieties in the Southern Marches, and has set up a cider apple and perry pear sub-group.

Gloucestershire Orchard Group conserves, promote and celebrates traditional orchards in the county, and has details on local varieties of apple, pear, plum and nut trees.

Ribston Pippin

Short article in The Guardian, 22/1/04, on the revival of local varieties, naming Holme Lacey Pear alongside others with slightly rude names!

Monty Don, previously Observer writer and Gardeners World presenter, lives in Herefordshire and is interested in local varieties. See October ’04 article of some relevance.

Going outside the three counties area, there’s a developing cider scene in Wales. See Welsh Perry and Cider Society web site.

Cider and Perry Related Info

While cider production is very much a Herefordshire thing, it does occur in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire to some degree. On the other hand, perry (basically cider made from particular types of pears) is a Three Counties thing, perhaps with a Gloucestershire bias. Perry pear varieties have some wonderful names, and there can be confusion between them, with varieties taking different names and the same name applying to different varieties in different parts of the Three Counties area.

Malvern Hills is a variety of perry pear, apparently a favourite of Gwatkins (see Producers). From various accounts, this is in fact the variety also known as Moorcroft, believed to have originated from Moorcroft Farm in Colwall, and also under the now more famous name of Stinking Bishop, which has transferred its name to a cheese soaked in the perry of that ilk. The pear was once widely grown throughout the Three Counties.

Our previous entry on this said: One pear variety has now achieved fame via Wallace and Gromit’s Curse of the WereRabbit. This features Stinking Bishop, a cheese made on a Dymock farm (actually it’s a bit north east of there) and named after the pear of the perry cider in which it is soaked. Apparently the pear itself is named after Frederick Bishop, who was “famed for his drunken temper and was known as “a stinker”. He was born in the mid-19th century, and his grave is in the middle of the churchyard of Colwall Parish church, near the Malvern Hills.” (Jane Garratt, great grand-daughter, Shipley, W. Yorks in Telegraph letter 3/10/05). We have since discovered that others of his descendants still live in the area.

Worcester Black Pear is a culinary variety but well known – pears are part of the city coat of arms.

Perry pears at Alnwyn Farm, near Greggs PitThe CAMRA cider page says that “perry is traditionally a speciality of the Three Counties and Welsh Borders, as perry pears were said to only thrive ‘in sight of May Hill”.

Taynton, a few miles south of Newent, is the home of the Taynton Squash Perry Pear which, according to a previous local website’s history page, was highly rated in the 17th and 18th centuries.

There’s a fun article on Lambourn Valley Cider Co‘s web site (they’re in Berkshire!) about farmer and cider maker Ray Hartland based near Tewkesbury.

Extracted from Ciderlore: Cider in the Three Counties:

William Pitt the Elder (MP for Bath, so with a West Country connection) coined the phrase “An Englishman’s home is his castle” while arguing against the Cider Tax (Excise men would have had to enter people’s homes to determine if cider was being brewed). Imposed in 1763 to fund the Seven Year War at 4 shillings a hogshead, the tax was relaxed three years later after huge public opposition. (Other sources say that these protests, which included burning effigies of the then prime minister and harassment of tax collectors, inspired rebellion in the American colonies to subsequent taxes under the Stamp Act .)

C.W. Radcliffe Cooke, son of Robert Cooke of Hellens at Much Marcle, was MP for Hereford but known in the House of Commons as the ‘MP for cider‘ due to his interest in the subject. He also published the book Cider and Perry in 1889.

There are implications (pp21-22) that not all local ciders are always 100% vegetarian. We’ll leave it to you to delve into this further!

Pomonas

Yellow IngestrePomonas are illustrated surveys or guides to apple varieties. The first (known) covering Herefordshire dates from 1811, with a two volume one produced by Woolhope Naturalists Field Club in 1885, a time when local orchards were neglected and under threat. Bulmers produced their own as part of centenary celebrations (mid 1990s).

This Herefordshire Pomona, a guide to apples and pear varieties grown in the county, first produced in the late nineteenth century, now has a 21st century treatment in a CD-ROM The Apples and Pears of The Herefordshire Pomona, with all the colour plates from The Herefordshire Pomona, corresponding section drawings and descriptions of the fruits plus further text. See Marcher Apple Network for details.

Other Publications

Vintage Fruit. is another CD-ROM from Marcher Apple Network, May 2007. Brings together material from a range of difficult-to-get publications, Pomona Herefordiensis, The Apple and Pear as Vintage Fruits, Perry Pears, Cider Apples and their Characters, and Bulmer’s Pomona.

Ciderlore: Cider in the Three Counties from Logaston Press, ISBN 1904396100, published November 2003. A wide ranging look at how cider and perry has been made and drunk in Herefordshire and also Worcs and Glos. Try Amazon.co.uk.

Cider – The Forgotten Miracle is an investigation into the history of farmhouse cider, although based around Somerset. Published by Cyder Press Two, Oct. ’99 – buy from Amazon.co.uk.

Real Cidermaking on a Small Scale “all the details you’d need to make your own cider as a complete beginner” – try Amazon.co.uk. Or Craft Cider Making from Good Life Press, Oct ’08, from Amazon.co.uk.

Farmyard Cider and Scrumpy Bossiney Books (West Country specialist publisher), March 1999. Buy from Amazon.

Pomona Britannica: The Complete Plates at Amazon.co.uk.

The New Book of Apples: The definitive guide to over 2000 varieties, Ebury Press, 2002. Amazon.co.uk.

Cider and Perry Producers

Those with a * below are on the Ledbury Cider Cycling Routesee above. For more, UKCider web site has a regional producers section, with separate pages for Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. UKCider also has a useful Cider Pub guide for Hereford and Worcestershire – as it’s a wiki you can update it if things have changed.

Aston Manor, the “number one independent UK cider producer”, has its orchards around Bishops Frome and Storridge “on the Hereford side of the Malvern Hills”. They also grow hops. Also taken over Knights Cider and its Malvern Gold and Malvern Oak brands.

Barbourne Cider Not sure where this lot are based, but Barbourne is part of Worcester and they use produce from Worcestershire orchards.

Bartestree Cider Company founded September 2013, in Herefordshire, somewhere near the village hall? A few local outlets.

Brook Farm Cider, Wigmore, Herefordshire.

Broome Farm has a guest house as well as working cider farm, at Peterstow, just west of Ross. They run a small ‘Ross-on-Wye’ cider festival in the late summer (see Events page).

Butford Farm Cider, from an organic small holding near Bodenham specialising in cider, perry, pork and eggs.

Clives Fruit Farm, near Upton, is better known for its single variety apple (and perry) juices, but does make some cider and perry too.

Building the 'cheese'* Dragon Orchard, Putley has a crop sharing scheme. Also Once Upon a Tree sells their produce online and in the connected Three Counties Cider Shop.

* Gregg’s Pit Cider & Perry, Much Marcle, is an award winning, small scale producer of craft cider and perry. One of our favourites.

Henney’s Cider (ex Cheyney Lodge), Tan House Court, Much Cowarne. Produces Frome Valley Cider.

Jus makes single variety apple juice on a small scale, but worth checking out. Glebe Farm, Aylton. Phone 01531 670749.

* Ledbury Cider and Perry is part of Old Kennels Farm, which has holiday cottages (better than the photos imply). They make great cider but not huge quantities and generally only available from the farm shop.

Red juice at Lyne Down!* Lyne Down Cider and Perry, near Much Marcle, is back, in new hands after a little while off. (Adjacent photo taken there several few years back.)

Minchew’s Real Cyder & Perry is based at Tewkesbury, sourcing fruit (apple and pears) locally. Perry varieties include Moorcroft / Malvern Hills, aka Stinking Bishop.

Munsley Cider & Apple Juice. A small producer with local availability.

Norbury Black Bull Cider Co, Storridge, Worcestershire, WR13 5HD. Phone 01886 832206.

Oliver’s Cider and Perry, Moorhouse Farm, Ocle Pychard.

Ross on Wye Cider and Perry – see Broome Farm above.

Snails Bank Cider produces premium Herefordshire cider, with interesting fruit blends. Based near Bishops Frome? Order a box online. (MalvernTrail enjoyed a Pineapple and Pink Grapefruit at Garway Moon pub, Sep. 2017).

Three Counties Cider Shop in the centre of Ledbury stocks many local ciders, perrys and apple juices. (Alternative web link).

* Westons, Much Marcle, is a relatively large operation using modern equipment, with products available nationally. Guided tours.

Woodredding Cider A relative newcomer, a little way off the main Much Marcle centred trail. We haven’t visited yet. Woodredding Farm, Yatton, Ross-on-Wye,  HR9 7RG.

Outside MalvernTrail’s core area

Colcombe House Founded 2015, premium ‘artisan’ cider from Hampton Bishop, Herefordshire.

Day’s Cottage Pure Apple Juice is made with apples from traditional, mature orchards in Gloucestershire. Cider and perry too. Based near Gloucester.

Dunkertons is listed on Places around the area page (in Pembridge) – organic producers.

Gwatkin Cider at Abbey Dore. Perry and single variety ciders. Phone 01981 550258.

Newtons produce cider, including bottle fermented, and perry. Newton Court Cidery, Leominster, HR6 0PF, phone 01568 611721.

Orchard Cider and Perry – near Chepstow.

Other local cider places

The Hop Pocket Wine Company stocks a wide range of local cider and perries, as well as apple and pear juice, local wine and beer. Bishops Frome, phone 01531 640592.

Little Verzons Farm , on the Hereford Road west of Ledbury, has a tea room and farm shop selling cider and perry – The Nest.  Phone 01531 670816.

Shortwood Farm listed under on the Sustainable visits page has cider related activities for visitors.

More places on the (Ledbury) Cider Cycling Route

  • Straw House, Putley.
  • St Mary’s, Kempley (Old Church). Open 1st March to 31st October, 10am to 6pm, managed by English Heritage (free entrance). Wall paintings, interesting timbers.
  • Hellens, Much Marcle.
  • St Bartholomews, Much Marcle, with its famous hollow yew tree, impressive tombs in the church.

Comments welcome

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