The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Somerset is apple country, with the perfect soil and climate for growing apples and making cyder. It has been going on here for centuries. Head out to the small farmlands of Somerset and you’ll spot ancient orchards still dotted about; clumps of mistletoe in the canopy, sheep grazing under the dappled shade of laden trees. Old barns still with the farmers’ cyder press within, some still making cyder today.

Here at The Newt, we celebrate every aspect of our county’s signature crop. From the tree to the fruit, its juice and of course the final stage: cyder. This season is apple harvest, with the orchards coming into their own after a long summer, and the air drenched in the sharp yet familiar scent of newly ripe apples. All ready for the press.

Over the next four issues, we’ll be getting positively giddy about this humble fruit in our dedicated Apple Series. As the cyder team pick fruit for the press, you can follow the journey with us. It all starts from the tree…

At the core of our gardens sits the Parabola: a walled apple tree maze containing every apple cultivar grown in England. Trees are arranged by order of county, trained in clever ways to form curious shapes. A fitting homage to le pomme, adorned with blossom in spring and apples in autumn.

It offers a vantage point to another rather special tree collection: our cyder apple orchards. Some 65 acres containing 3,000 apple trees of 70 varieties of cyder apple. Populated by wild and native bees. Planted in traditional ‘standard’ style to recreate vistas that would have been enjoyed in the Georgian era by early custodians of the estate. Just as importantly, producing a far tastier yield than ‘bush’ style planting. 

Watch our IGTV below to see which varieties are nestled in the Parabola, and check in next week for the next appley instalment.