Purbeck Cider Project Wins Top Award

26 March 2011

Four years ago, when National Trust volunteers noticed apples in neglected Purbeck orchards were going to waste, they decided to try and do something about it.

Not content with harvesting the fruit for pies or hearty apple crumbles, they opted to produce a historical South West favourite - cider.

And, using traditional methods including a hand-cranked press, they set off on a journey that recently saw them scoop a national award for their helpful work.

The Old Volunteer cider and apple juice produced in a modest shed in the shadow of  Corfe Castle has been critically-acclaimed and is on sale at National Trust outlets in Corfe and Studland.

National Trust volunteer Lin Renvoize said: "There are remnants of small orchards all around Purbeck's National Trust estate and we thought this was an awful waste.

"All the National Trust volunteers have worked hard on this project, we've even established a small plantation near Norden, which we manage."

What began in a small way with no funding is now an established business, and the volunteers have led the way at every stage.

They plant, prune, harvest, process and even design the labels.

Jon Bish, from the National Trust, said: "Funding from the National Trust and Natural England has been invested to plant more than 100 new apple trees and turn a neglected shed into a hygienic cider barn with cider presses."

The project won the nationwide Marsh Heritage Group Volunteering Award title and a £1,000 prize, which will be ploughed back into cider production.

Lin said: "We have been inspired and driven by each other all along the way, and we're always including others in our project."

The group produced 1,200 litres of the cider this season. A small bottle of the crisp 5.5 per cent drink can be bought for £2.50.

Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo

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