Cider is one of Herefordshire's best known exports and is rightly celebrated in the county. The two main events of 2024, organised by The Big Apple Association, are Blossomtime (5th & 6th May 2024) and Harvestime (12th & 13th October 2024). The titles are fairly self-explanatory!

Figure 1: Flyer for Blossomtime 2024

We attended Blossomtime on the Sunday - fortunately, the rain we were promised never appeared and we enjoyed a warm sunny Spring day. The Spring and Autumn events used to be small parochial affairs based around Putley Village Hall. The Big Apple Association has clearly upped their game by adding more events and using three different venues.

Activities included walks and talks, demonstrations, singing, music, arts & crafts, Morris dancing and (of course) cider tasting and sales. All for £5 per person.

Photo 1: Apple Blossom, Dragon Orchard (6th May 2024)

The apple blossom was a little sparse in some orchards compared with previous years. These apple trees (Photo 1, Photo 2) were at Dragon Orchard, the venue for music, dancing and drinking!

Photo 2: Apple Blossom, Dragon Orchard (May 6th 2024)

Photo 3: Leominster Morris (6/5/24)

Photo 4: Leominster Morris (6/5/24)

Of course, no English country occasion would be complete without Morris Dancers; we were treated to performances by both men's (Leominster Morris, Photo 3 & Photo 4, Video 1) and women's (Pinsley Mill Clog Dancers, Photo 5 & Photo 6, Video 2) teams.

Photo 5: Pinsley Mill Clog Dancers (6/5/24)

Photo 6: Pinsley Mill Clog Dancers (6/5/24)

Video 1: Leominster Morris in Action (6/5/24)

Video 2: Pinsley Mill Clog Dancers

To finish off the day, there was a short walk through fields and orchards for me (Mary took the tractor-pulled trailer option) to visit the recently restored 16th Century cruck-framed tithe barn at Court Farm, Aylton (Photo 7). Tree-ring analysis (dendrochronology) of the barn indicates a build date of around 1503. The barn housed a number of exhibitors; Mary made a blossom flower and we bought a couple of wildflower plants.

Photo 7: Court Farm Barn, Aylton (6/5/24)

Fortunately, the forecast rain did not appear and we could enjoy the warm late Spring sunshine along with a taste of Old England.


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