With the arrival of September our thoughts turn to autumn harvests, orchards and the much loved and infamous Herefordshire cider. Renowned world wide, Herefordshire cider has become far more sophisticated in the last couple of decades, often rivalling wines on finish, palate and the ability to pair it with foods.
Cider has been produced in Herefordshire since medieval times and during the 17th century, Lord Scudamore of Holme Lacy House pioneered a transformation in cider-making around the UK. He spent many years developing his own cider-making techniques on his estate, growing new types of apples, including the Redstreak or ‘Scudamore’s Crabbe’. He persisted in sharing it with other landowners, encouraging them to plant them and produce a high quality cider enjoyed by even King Charles I on a visit to the area.
Ross-on-Wye is surrounded by many wonderful apple orchards and award winning cider makers. Here are our top producers, all located within 8 miles of our market town.
Broome Farm, a 300 year old working cider farm and guest house can be found tucked away in the most picturesque setting amongst orchards and the rolling Herefordshire countryside. Each year, the Yew Tree Inn at Peterstow, the home of its Ross-on-Wye Cider and Perry Company, celebrates with a three day cider festival (Friday 2 to Sunday 4 September 2022), pre-empted by their Cider Club event on Thursday 1 September where they welcome a guest speaker from the Elegast Cidery in the Netherlands. You can sample a range of internationally acclaimed ciders alongside a delicious seated buffet style meal in the main barn including cheese tasting board, sausage rolls, homemade pickles, chutneys and artisan bread from the local Loughpool Bakery. With possibly a few sore heads, the Cider Festival kicks off the following day and provides festival goers the opportunity to sample and purchase from their huge range of award winning local craft ciders whilst enjoying entertainment, music plus a dog show on the Sunday! To book tickets click here.
Also in the vicinity of Ross-on-Wye, a few miles north east of the market town in Much Marcle, you’ll find Westons Cider which has a long history of premium cider-making going back as far as 1880. Producing some well known brands such as Henry Westons, Old Rosie, Stowford Press and Mortimers Orchard, the site not only has world class cider making facilities and equipment but you can also take one of the daily tours, visit their onsite shop or book a meal at The Scrumpy House – check their website for opening times.
Also located at Much Marcle is Gregg’s Pit Cider & Perry where they make in-season cider and perry from late September to December. Practicing traditional methods using their ancient stone press, dating from the 18th century, their award-winning product range includes small batches of single variety and named varietal blends of draught, bottled, conditioned ‘Normandy method’ and in-bottle fermented naturally sparkling ciders and perries, and a vintage Pear Spirit. Their Big Apple Harvestime event takes place this October including cider and perry making, product tasting and sales, orchard walks and talks. Click here for further information.
Five miles north west of Ross-on-Wye near St Owen’s Cross, Gillow Manor is home to the Gillow Festival, an annual celebration every June where festival goers can enjoy a fantastic programme of live music, eat delicious local produce washed down with cider made from produce of the surrounding apples orchards. Tickets will be on sale in the new year ahead of the next June event.