All posts tagged: somerset

There are two broad main traditions in cider production in the UK – the West tradition and the Kent and East Anglia tradition.

The former are made using a much higher percentage of true cider-apples and so are richer in tannins and sharper in flavour. Kent and East Anglia ciders tend to use a higher percentage of, or are exclusively made from, culinary and dessert fruit; Kentish ciders such as Biddenden’s and Theobolds are typical of this style. They tend to be clearer, and lighter in body and flavour.

Real cider is mostly associated with the West Country, Herefordshire & Worcestershire, but is also produced in Wales and across England, particularly Kent, Suffolk and Norfolk. Cider is available in sweet, medium and dry varieties.

The apples which are used in The West Country & other certain parts of the country are cider apples, which are grown specifically for the purpose of making cider. Cider apples are generically identified as bittersweets and bittersharps.

With most ciders the greater the variety of apples used, the better as they all have different characteristics. In recent years a number of Producers have starting making cider and perry from single varieties of fruit; these produce an interesting & sometimes surprising result from a tasting point of view.

In Somerset – and other areas of the West Country, layers of straw were used instead of cloths. Some producers still use this method.

In Herefordshire – it was the tradition to use horsehair, but there are no known producers who still do this in the Herefordshire area.

In the Eastern Counties – Sussex up to Norfolk (& including Kent) – the tradition for cider is to use a mixture of eating and cooking apples, although a number of producers in Norfolk are growing cider apples as well.

Roger has been cider making since he was a boy, taught the skills of the ancient art by his grandfather.

The business was passed onto Roger through the family and now he produces around 15,000 gallons each year at his home at Landsend Farm, Mudgley, near Wedmore.

Roger, who is married to Mary and has three grown-up children, said: “Many years ago, cider was made at nearly every farm in the area”.

People come from across the whole country to sample Roger’s cider, which sells at just £1 a litre, or about 56p a pint.

Anyone wanting to sample Roger’s cider for themselves can go to – Landsend Farm, Mudgley, Wedmore,

Monday to Saturday from 10am-8pm and on Sundays from 10am-1pm. For more information contact 01934 712385.

View cider pubs in South West and UK cider producers

An old, but very comprehensive guide to finding cider is on the Independent newspaper web site.

Starting off with this statement

The Wurzels couldn’t get enough of it and Julius Caesar liked a tipple, too. Cider may be seen as an English drink, but discovers its appeal stretches from France and Spain to as far afield as South Africa and the US

Where exactly is cider country?

For our purposes, wherever cider’s the traditional tipple. Cider is now made all over the world from Oregon to Cape Town (the cider market in South Africa is the second biggest in the world after the UK). However, to experience traditional cider-making you should head for Herefordshire, Somerset, Normandy in France or Asturias in Spain.

The best place to start is in Somerset

Somerset has the greatest number of registered farmhouse cider-makers in England. Most are found around the fringes of the Levels, a flat land of big skies and big floods wedged between the Mendips, Quantocks and Blackdown Hills. Certain areas produce particularly good cider, and in Somerset these are located around Wedmore, Glastonbury and Martock.

Enter Roger Wilkins

Roger Wilkins

Roger Wilkins. Photo credit: Jonathan Latimer

For a good introduction to traditional Somerset cider, call on Roger Wilkins (01934 712385), whose farm sits on a sheltered slope in Mudgley south of Wedmore. In the business for 45 years, Wilkins is a well-known character among Somerset producers and in his unkempt barn he offers nothing but traditional scrumpy from the barrel (medium or dry). In summer there’s often a gathering of locals enjoying a glass of the deliciously fruity cider while they wait to fill up their containers to take home.

It then goes onto travelling farther afield to look at ciders in France, Spain and America.

Definitely worth a read if you are a newcomer to cider, or if you want to learn more about international ciders. Read the full article

If you fancy a trip to Taunton, Somerset, here’s a list of producers to visit over a couple of days in which you can celebrate wonderful cider.

This can be done by bicycle, but it would be safer having a designated driver tour you around!

We suggest the following cider producers for a great day out around Taunton.The postcode link takes you to the location using Google Maps: