Family Time at Westons Cider Mill

One sunny Sunday in May we hopped aboard the 11.30 am 232 Daffodil Line bus service from Ross-on-Wye for a day out at Weston’s Cider Mill in Much Marcle. It was a glorious journey through rolling countryside along to Newent and onwards to Much Marcle. From our seat high up in the bus we could see newly green landscape and hedgerows frothing with May blossom and cow parsley. We alighted at the Walwyn Arms bus stop at Much Marcle where we met a fellow enthusiastic bus user who had that morning travelled into Ross on Wye and back and was very pleased to be able to now regularly be using the new bus route serving Much Marcle.

From the Walwyn Arms stop we carefully crossed the main road to the lane leading to Westons. We chose the lane on this particular day as the ground was quite wet from several days of recent rain, however it is also possible to take a public footpath instead. The foot path can be joined from the road junction on the other side of the main road from the Walwyn Arms bus stop. Walking along the lane there is a bench half way along where the lane meets Watery Lane (which leads to The Slip Tavern), after a quick rest and a drink of water, we continued along the lane to the Mill.

Westons Cider is an independent, family owned business, where they have been making cider from apples in this beautiful patch of countryside for 140 years. Westons pride themselves in being makers of fine cider since 1880, they are the creators of award-winning brands including Henry Westons, Stowford Press and Old Rosie.

On arrival at the mill we walked past the Scrumpy House restaurant which was bustling with people sitting at outdoor tables enjoying food and drink in the sunshine. Some children were watching goldfish dart about in the pond. We continued through to the shop area where we found out more about visiting. Tours of the cider mill take place four times a day (leaving at 11.00am, 12.30am, 2.00pm and 3.00pm). Tours offer the opportunity to learn more about the history of Westons and the craft of cider making (Tours and tasting: Adults £15, Child £6 or Family £36 (2 Adults and 3 children)). If you are not taking a tour there are still many things you can enjoy including the free play park (open from Easter – End of October),  seeing the Shire Horses, a Wildlife walk, the Scrumpy House restaurant and the well-stocked shop. The ‘Westons Wildlife Walk’ has been designed in association with Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and leaflets detailing the walk and the route are available in the shop. The walk takes you along public footpaths and past important wildlife habitats and features including veteran trees, traditional orchards and hedgerows. The entire walk is estimated to take between 2-3 hours and options for shortened versions of the walk are also described in the leaflet.

We picked up an ice cream in the shop and headed first to the play park. It was Hillbrooks ice cream (made just down the road in Kempley! Hillbrooks Ice Cream) there was a choice of many delicious flavours with an option of ‘Old Rosie’ flavour for cider enthusiasts, we chose ‘Vanilla’ and ‘Rum and raisin’ flavours. The park is a large enclosed area with a range of wooden play equipment, suitable for older children too. The zip line was a favourite activity for our three year old. Three magnificent Shire Horses were peacefully grazing in the paddock right next to the play park so we had an excellent view of them. After our play park stop we headed out for a walk along the Lyne Down lane and back.

Once we had  passed the cider mill and had turned left down the Lyne Down lane, the road became surprisingly quiet and once we got a bit further along the lane we were not passed by many cars at all. The lane offers some incredible views of the surrounding countryside including a view to the Malvern Hills. We enjoyed spotting wildflowers in the hedgerows, splashing in puddles and admiring the May blossom and the views before stopping for a picnic. We could both enjoy a cider in the sunshine as we would be catching the bus home later. We walked as far as Lyne Down Organics, another local cider and perry making business, where you can taste cider or enjoy a relaxing glass of cider or perry sitting in the orchard. The shop sells Lyne Down cider and Perry as well as other farm produce and a selection of guest ciders from other local producers. There is also a Shepherds hut available to hire which looked idyllic, nestled in the orchard surrounded by blossom. Cider | Lyne Down Organics Limited | Ledbury

It was soon time to retrace our steps along the lane in the afternoon sunshine. We popped back into the shop at Westons on our way past to purchase some cider to take home, and got back to the bus stop before the 16.40 bus back towards Ross on Wye. A beautiful May day exploring this little corner of cider-making countryside. 

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