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The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

20th September 2018

Ease into the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness at these places dedicated to Britain’s sweetest, juiciest treats...

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

20th September 2018

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

20th September 2018

This is the time of year to celebrate abundance, gluts and harvests, to bite hungrily into pears and let the juice run down your chin. Take a day together to learn about the benefits of organic farming (and climb a huge windmill), picnic on a ridge overlooking the marshes, explore the burgeoning Community Orchard movement within earshot of crashing surf, find out about the history and heritage of our farms, or have a tipsy afternoon at a cider farm. And all for free.

1 - NEWQUAY COMMUNITY ORCHARD

More famous for its beaches, Newquay’s Community Orchard is only an apple’s throw away from the coast – a place to cool off in the shade after a morning surfing. It’s genuinely a place at the heart of the community; tended and loved by volunteers and apprentices, heaving with crops that are part of the Food For Change programme and a focal point for local people to spend time together. Stroll through five acres of fruit trees or lie down and let your cares soar away as you cloud spot and breathe in the fresh air. Two natural amphitheatres play host to spring and harvest fairs, while, at other times, you might find fireside storytelling, permaculture courses or volunteering sessions. newquayorchard.co.uk

2 - TORRE CIDER FARM

Deep in the incredible countryside surrounding Washford in Somerset, Torre Cider Farm has been making ciders, scrumpies, vinegar and apple juice for over 20 years, including Farmhouse, Fuzzy Duck, Sheep Stagger and Bees Knees. It’s not a formal kind of place – come and taste the ciders and juices at the farm shop then take a (slightly wonky) wander around the farm and orchard. Hic! If you’re lucky, the farm’s smoker will be up and running with slow-cooked treats, or their pizza oven fired up for fresh, stone-baked flatbreads. There’s a great little assault course and playground for kids – complete with a tractor called Trevor to climb – a cider press room, and sheep, piglets, chickens and ducks to coo over. Plus, of course, a tea room for that perfect Somerset cream tea. If you’d like a more formal tour, arrange it in advance online, and if you really fall in love with the place, you can even book a stay at their 2-bedroom apartment. torrecider.co.uk

3 - NORTHWARD HILL

Sited high on a Kent ridge, Northward Hill is a working farm and RSPB Nature Reserve, home to grey herons (with over 150 pairs nesting here, it’s one of the biggest heronries in the UK), lapwings, nightingales and little egrets. It’s a quiet, contemplative place with big sky views over swathes of Thames Marshes – go for a wander along one of their way marked trails looking out for frogs, eels and water voles. Higher up, you’ll find a bluebell wood, large rookery and a cherry orchard, partly ancient, partly newly planted, and managed by the community. It’s a peaceful place to come and sit, watch butterflies, spot rare wild flowers and picnic under boughs heavy with cherries. Heavenly. tinyurl.com/northwardhill

4 - ST FAGANS NATIONAL MUSEUM OF HISTORY

One of the country’s blockbuster free days out, St Fagans National Museum of History is a huge, outdoor celebration of Wales’ history and culture. As well as over forty original historical buildings to dip in and out of, demonstrations of traditional crafts, skills and farming, a beech woodland packed with nature, and the grand manor house to explore, there are also formal gardens, laden with fruit and produce. In the land surrounding the castle, you’ll stumble across a mulberry grove, with trees over a hundred years old, apricot trees, and walnuts. Explore the vinery, with its wild plants and flowers scattered across the formal layout. To find out more about the history of fruit farming, head to the museum, where you’ll find a horse-driven circular stone mill, and heavy wooden cider press, both from the 19th century. Car park ticketed. museum.wales/stfagans

5 - AMISFIELD WALLED GARDEN

One of the largest walled gardens in Scotland, Amisfield feels like a retreat from the rest of the world. Built in the 18th century, it’s now a community garden, managed by a trust and run by volunteers, and is divided into eight sections; a tranquil mix of herbaceous borders, woodlands, wildflower meadows and lush orchards. See over 30 local and heritage apple varieties, such as the East Lothian Pippin and the romantically named Lady of Wemyss. On apple days, you can try the juice from different strains of the green and red fruits, while cherry, apricot, plum, peach and medlar trees jostle for attention. It’s a lovely place to spend an hour or two; wander outside the walls into the meadowlands and search for orchids, butterflies, bats and roe deer. amisfield.org.uk

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