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Weston’s Cider Mill

I’ve taken the week off work, for some much-needed down-time in between bids. I had made all sorts of plans to go out and do things, including a day-trip to Oxford where the Ashmolean museum has an interesting exhibition on about the discovery of Tutankamun’s tomb. However, I’m absolutely shattered, and have decided to stop pushing myself so hard, and actually have a week of lazy lie-ins and doing very little. So I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of trekking all the way to Oxford, in favour of catching up on my sleep and pottering around locally.

This afternoon, on a bit of a whim, I went on a factory tour of Weston’s Cider Mill, in Much Marcle, about 10miles from me in deepest Herefordshire. Weston’s is a family run business – on I think its fourth generation by now – and despite growing fast they still keep to their roots. All of their apples come from the Three Counties, and they mature their cider in huge oak vats, some over a hundred years old. But they have also invested heavily in new equipment to enable them to expand, including huge stainless steel mixing and storage vats, and a bottling plant.

It was fascinating being taken on a factory tour around the site. They’re not actually pressing the apples at the moment as its still too early in the year, and the fruit hasn’t yet been harvested. But we were shown several incarnations of cider press – the original manual press used from the 1880s, a hydraulic press in service from 1924 to the 1990s, and the modern Swiss-made presses, one of which was so new it was still being commissioned. They were hurrying to get it ready for the harvest next month. The Weston’s site is on a slope, and it was interesting to see how they made use of gravity and spring water to wash the freshly-picked apples down the slope from the initial drop-off point to the pressing shed.

The tour finished with a cider tasting session in the inevitable gift shop, and I was really quite concerned that I’d have to drive home afterwards! The tea rooms must do roaring trade, as I wasn’t the only person to decide it was safer to sit for half an hour with a full cream tea before getting in the car!

{ 2 } Comments

  1. SallyB | 28 August 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Or even safer to do it the way we did – on a coach.

  2. Gillian | 28 August 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    That sounds like a very good idea! As it was, I turned down the last two samples that were offered, though I’m sure they would have been delicious…..