The Orchard

 

Somerset is famous for its apple orchards and its cider. This orchard was planted in 1976 in a field used by the Mapstone family for rearing calves.

 

Cider

 

For centuries cider was produced on most Somerset farms. A farmer needed cider for his own use, for his regular labourers, and for temporary workers hired during harvest. It was important to have good cider to attract and keep the best workers.

 

Varieties

 

The orchard grows apples of local origin and helps to preserve some of the old and rare varieties. The cider variety Gennet Moyle was thought to be extinct. Luckily an old tree was discovered and the variety saved. The names of different varieties may commemorate an event, a local place, the founder of the variety, or its appearance.

 

Varieties grown in this orchard include:

 

Dunkerton Sweet – raised by the Dunkerton family of Baltonsborough

Stoke Red – from the village of Rodney Stoke, near Cheddar

Yarlington Mill – from the village of Yarlington, near Castle Cary

Stembridge Jersey and Stembridge Cluster – both from Stembridge, near Martock

 

More to see

Look out for the shepherd’s hut and the Museum’s Exmoor Horn sheep that might be spotted hiding under it.

The Orchard is also home to a number of bee hives. 

A First World War allotment has also been created where visitors can discover more about life on the home front and the ways in which Somerset people supported the war effort. It was opened to mark the First World War Centenary.

Drinking cider in the fields, Henstridge, c. 1910

The Museum’s new Exmoor Horn and the Shepherd's hut in the orchard