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Traditional Somerset cider orchards survive floods

Hill orchard  


There have been some scare stories in the media that the Somerset floods will seriously impair this year’s cider production: but they are no more than that - scare stories.

Cider apple orchards in the traditional growing areas of Somerset, Hereford and Worcestershire were planted on south-facing hills or steeply slopping ground because it was difficult to use this ground for other agricultural purposes.

All the work on the orchards was historically carried out by hand and because they drain naturally they have survived to this day.

Flooding – or even prolonged water-logging – will kill the fibrous roots (which are incidentally designed to collect water) of fruit trees in a couple of weeks.

The new cider orchards of bush varieties are designed for disease resistance and harvesting by machine but the temptation to plant on flat floodplains should be resisted at all costs.




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