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Ann & Norman Stanier - owners of Dragon Orchard help bring in the harvest. Our juices are all made from tree ripened, hand picked fruit.
Winners of BBC Food and Farming Best Drinks Producers
From left to right
Simon Day, Norman Stanier, Hannah Day, Pete Brown (Judge), Ann Stanier, Valentine Warner (Awards Presenter)
A sharp cider variety, ready for harvesting!
Three Counties Cider Shop
Our store in Ledbury is stocked to the rafters with not only our own produce, but cider and other drinks from 25+ other local producers from Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire (and occaisional guest ciders from further afield!)
We run two novel orchard schemes - Dragon Orchard Cropsharers and a Sponsor a Tree scheme - click on the menu for details
We host a number of tours and events throughout the year, from orchard walks and cider tastings to poetry festival events and more... See our events page for more details.
Ellis Bitter cider apple.
A full bittersweet variety, with lots of tannins and rich flavours - a lovely component in many of our blended ciders
Cool autumnal mornings are perfect for picking. Here, our Blenheim Orange trees are mostly harvested.
Cider apples ripe for harvesting. We allow the fruit to fully ripen on the tree for maximum flavour in the finished cider.
We take great care with our juice apples. These Egremont Russet are destined for our Russet & Bramley juice.
Pressing the apples
Golden juice runs from the press - a modern take on the traditional rack and cloth press. We press about 4 Tonnes per day.
Some of our range photographed in the orchard at blossom time.
Three Counties Cider Shop
Our Three Counties Cider shop can be found right in the centre of our pretty market town of Ledbury - a vibrant town with loads of unique interesting shops, cafés, pubs, and attractions.
Willow Sculptures in the orchard
We offer various events throughout the year, and we regularly host artists and sculptors during The Trumpet Art Trail and H.Art
Winter in the Orchard
Orchards can be beautiful places in snowy conditions!
435 years later we named our unique Dessert Pear Ice-wine after this local landmark!
Once everyone was assembled and ready to venture forth on our walk, Norman Stanier introduced everyone to the Once Upon A Tree team, and then to our guest speaker local Geologist, Nic Howes.
Nic gave a short talk and description of the geology of the ridge, and the mechanics of how the slip occurred, including an explanation of the accounts that saw “her low parts [the landslip] mounted to a hill of 12 fathoms” – not what you would expect from a landslide!
The walk, led by Norman, started from Putley Village Hall, walking through local farmland and orchards, passing the parish church, Putley Court, and onto Fortnams Orchard (one of the oldest family fruit farms in the area, and where many of the pears were sourced for “The Wonder”), Then onto the Wonder itself where the party divided, some taking in the walk over “Tumpy ground” and the base of the landslip, and others around the top of the landslip to see the remains of the chasm created when the land moved.
At hall end farm we saw what was suspected to be some of the quoins – cornerstones – that were taken from the remains of the chapel when the farm was being built. We returned to the hall via fields of sheep and lambs, and over small streams and muddy tracks & past the old mill.
At the hall, several bottles of “The Wonder” were opened and shared, along with pear juice for the younger members of the audience, and Simon Day revealed some of the secrets of its production!
Many of the visitors then retired to Dragon Orchard, where they enjoyed further tastings of cider and perry, and a chance to stock up on a few bottles!
Despite the dim, damp, cloudy conditions, everyone really enjoyed the event, from locals who were surprised to learn so much more about what is on their doorstep, to visitors to the area who enjoyed the wonderful scenery and flavours that were on offer.
We look forward to seeing some of the same faces at our next Herefordshire Year in the Orchard event on the 12th March – “History of Orcharding in Putley” led by Norman Stanier.
About 14 people were on the course, all hoping for Richard and Linda to reveal their secrets, and enable us to get closer to their standard.
We were not dissapointed!
Rich led the workshop with some back to basics work on how cameras "see" and how best to overcome your camera's limitations, to achieve the depth of field and exposure you want. He then moved onto composition, demonstrating some of the rules with his own photos. Each session was punctuated with an opportunity to take shots ourselves, including help with portrait work - something I know I stuggle with!
In the afternoon, Linda told us her techniques to capture stunning wildlife shots, and gave us the chance to take photos of a Scops owl and a young Kestrel brought by the International Centre for Birds of Prey based in nearby Newent. We managed to take shots, close up and in flight with our two very obliging and beautiful models!
Our final assignment (after a tasting session!) was to capture the essense of the orchard, using the techniques learned throughout the day.
All in all, everyone really enjoyed the day, and went away enthused and more knowledgable than they arrived.
A big thank you to Richard and Linda for an excellent day!
Click on "Read more" to see some of my photos I took on the day:
The day was run by local sculptor, artist and poet David Walker with the orchard input from Chris Fairs of Bulmers and Norman Stanier.
Some of the contributions:
Machines for pruning
do mothers work
I miss her
An apple a day
twenty tons per acre
eat drink and be merry
Not looking for perfection
tells it all
Flat hidden buds
you grow from
Warm the rain
share the colour
of my umbrella
|Winter pruning is essential to let light and air into the orchard canopy.|
Winter pruning, carried out when trees are dormant, is one of the most important seasonal orchard jobs. It is essential routine maintenance, necessary for the health and vigour of the trees and also helps maintain overall orchard hygiene.
Trees are basically powered by sunlight and for fruiting trees this is one of the most crucial elements in how they perform. Many pests and diseases flourish in still, damp conditions and so good air flow is vital in providing control systems, especially against scab and mildew. Keeping the canopy open to allow ample light and sufficient air is a key management principle. My father used to sum this up in the maxim that when he had finished pruning a tree he should be able to throw his hat through it.
A second principle is as simple as ABCD. This signifies that you should Attack Broken Crossed and Diseased branches. Broken branches can let in disease and may damage healthy growth. Crossed branches will interfere with light and can cause rubbing and damage bark and anything diseased needs to be removed and burnt. In older orchards dead wood can be left as it can provide excellent habitat for many species and help maintain good biodiversity.
The third basic reason for winter pruning is to ensure the vigour of the tree. If the tree senses it is under threat or attack it will be stimulated or encouraged into a positive reaction. It will be reminded of the basic need to reproduce, encouraged to throw fruit bud and hence more fruit. Its reaction will depend on its root stock, age and condition, but as a general principle winter pruning will encourage or maintain the vigour of the tree.
So, if you remember to “Throw your hat”, go for ABCD and balance the vigour of the tree, you are well on your way to understanding the Principles of Pruning or The Art of Farming Light and Air.
It's not just the blossom that's providing colour in the orchard at the moment...
Annie's sister Sue had a wander through the orchard yesterday, and with a fine eye for wildflowers counted no less than 34 different species currently in bloom!
This is a really good indicator that the orchard biodiversity is healthy, and makes for an lovely walk around the orchard.
Here is the list of flowers:
Dead Nettle, red, white and yellow
Violet, purple and mauve
Forget me Not
Ladies Smock or Cuckoo Flower, mauve and white