When I first moved to Glastonbury I was lucky enough to make friends with someone who knew a lot about local cider. He took me off to visit a few of his favourite Cider Farms and introduced me to the wonderful drink that is Somerset Cider.
I would like to share this precious local knowledge with you now. For that I have mapped out 5 of my favourite Cider Farms to follow your own Somerset Cider Trail.
They are all open year round but I think the best time to visit is the end of September/beginning of October when the apple harvest is in full swing. Tractors and wagons full to the brim with apples being delivered to Cider Farms and factories. I love the smell they leave behind them, I always say October smells of apples in Somerset.
If you don’t have the time to do my full day of the Cider Trail, do try to visit at least one when you are in Somerset.
I have listed the opening times but do check first before you head out as I would hate for you to be disappointed.
A. Start here at Middlewick, land of lots of Tor Cider Apples.
B. The first stop is just a few miles from us here in the heart of residential Street. Obviously this Cider Farm was here long before the houses, the family have been making traditional Somerset Cider here since 1840. What makes this cider special to me is that they use apples harvested from Glastonbury Tor to make some of their cider and apple Juices. There are plenty of varieties to try out here and there is a farm shop attached that not only sells the cider and juice it also sells local produce, cheese and chutneys. Open 7 days a week from 9-4, Sundays 10-12.30. For more information visit their website Hecks Cider Farm
C. From Hecks head over to Wilkins Cider. It is perhaps the most well known cider farm in the area, not particularly for the cider (which is very good) but rather for the man behind it. The Wilkins family have been making cider here since 1917 and the current owner, Roger Wilkins is quite the character. Roger and his Cider farm are usually the stop for many Television celebrity chefs and Foodies. This famous cider is available to taste and buy . They also sell a great plate of cheese so you can try out different Somerset cheeses as well. I always end up with bringing home too much cheese and cider when I visit. They are open 10am-8pm every day except Sunday when they close at 1pm. For more information here is their website : Wilkins Cider
D. If you set off early enough you will end up at Rich’s Cider Farm around lunchtime. They have a 70 seater restaurant serving local food and on Sunday they offer a carvery(that can be busy so do book first) . After lunch have a wander around their working farm where they have been making cider since 1954. Open 8.30am-5pm 7 days a week. For contact details or to book Lunch visit their website: Richs Cider
E. Sheppys Cider is a 30 minute drive south of Rich’s Cider Farm. Here you will find one of the oldest Cider Farms, they have been making cider for over 200 years. The Sheppy family have created a museum on the farm with a collection of farming and cider making exchibits as well as rural tools. They also have a newly renovated tea room here serving home made cakes and sandwiches. Depending on how much time you have there is 90 acres of scenic farmland that you are welcome to explore while you are there. They are open 8.30am – 6pm every day except Sunday. (the do open reduced hours on Sundays through the summer months) For more details visit their website: Sheppys Cider
F. To end the day off I am sending you somewhere different, the Somerset Brandy Company and Burrow Hill Cider Farm. It is a traditional Cider farm at the base of Burrow Hill which is a famous Somerset Landmark with a single sycamore tree on the top. The farm has been making cider here for 150 years and in 1989 they started to do something different. They started to distil cider and create Cider Brandy. It takes 11 litres of cider to make 1 Litre of Cider Brandy. If you aren’t interested in brandy, Burrow Hill cider is very nice and if you have ever visited Glastonbury Festival you will recognise the Cider Bus parked up at the farm. Open every day except Sunday from 9am- 5.30pm. For more information their website is Burrow Hill Cider