Main Promo Images
Ann & Norman Stanier - owners of Dragon Orchard help bring in the harvest. Our juices are all made from tree ripened, hand picked fruit.
Winners of BBC Food and Farming Best Drinks Producers
From left to right
Simon Day, Norman Stanier, Hannah Day, Pete Brown (Judge), Ann Stanier, Valentine Warner (Awards Presenter)
A sharp cider variety, ready for harvesting!
Three Counties Cider Shop
Our store in Ledbury is stocked to the rafters with not only our own produce, but cider and other drinks from 25+ other local producers from Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire (and occaisional guest ciders from further afield!)
We run two novel orchard schemes - Dragon Orchard Cropsharers and a Sponsor a Tree scheme - click on the menu for details
We host a number of tours and events throughout the year, from orchard walks and cider tastings to poetry festival events and more... See our events page for more details.
Ellis Bitter cider apple.
A full bittersweet variety, with lots of tannins and rich flavours - a lovely component in many of our blended ciders
Cool autumnal mornings are perfect for picking. Here, our Blenheim Orange trees are mostly harvested.
Cider apples ripe for harvesting. We allow the fruit to fully ripen on the tree for maximum flavour in the finished cider.
We take great care with our juice apples. These Egremont Russet are destined for our Russet & Bramley juice.
Pressing the apples
Golden juice runs from the press - a modern take on the traditional rack and cloth press. We press about 4 Tonnes per day.
Some of our range photographed in the orchard at blossom time.
Three Counties Cider Shop
Our Three Counties Cider shop can be found right in the centre of our pretty market town of Ledbury - a vibrant town with loads of unique interesting shops, cafés, pubs, and attractions.
Willow Sculptures in the orchard
We offer various events throughout the year, and we regularly host artists and sculptors during The Trumpet Art Trail and H.Art
Winter in the Orchard
Orchards can be beautiful places in snowy conditions!
The day was run by local sculptor, artist and poet David Walker with the orchard input from Chris Fairs of Bulmers and Norman Stanier.
Some of the contributions:
Machines for pruning
do mothers work
I miss her
An apple a day
twenty tons per acre
eat drink and be merry
Not looking for perfection
tells it all
Flat hidden buds
you grow from
Warm the rain
share the colour
of my umbrella
Year in the orchard celebrations continued in May at Dragon Orchard with a drop-in workshop on ‘a beginners guide to beekeeping’. David Pealing (Mr P) from Putley has been keeping bees for about seven years now, and is supplying Once Upon a Tree shop with his honey. Annie and Norman Stanier have wanted beehives in their orchard so this was a great opportunity to team up with Mr P.
Mer P had an old hive that required refurbishment. He set up outside to work on it with his willing helper Eric (10). They set too making new frames with foundation wax, wood, hammer and nails and managed quite a production line. Interested parties were welcomed to join in the action. Questions and Answers carried on a pace and eventually an inquisitive crowd gathered to learn more about the life and times of the honey bee, its hive and its role in the orchard.
Due to the very warm Easter we had experienced, the honey bees had already been very productive in some of Mr P’s hives in the village. For added interested the audience were herded into the garage and the electric doors lowered in preparation for a honey extraction display (The door was closed to reduce any bees flying past, being attracted to the honey.) Four frames heavy with comb and honey were lowered into an extraction barrel. The lid replaced and then a lot of manual effort was required to central frugally extract the honey. Efforts were rewarded with the sampling of very sweet, clear, magnificent honey.
During this day a competition was run to find the most appropriate site for the new hive. Visitors were offered the chance to set out into the orchard armed with a numbered stake, mallet and the few tips given by Mr P on the best place for a hive and find their ideal position. They were encouraged by the thought that the winning stake placed closest to the final resting place of the hive would win the first jar of honey from Dragon Orchards hive.
The day was informative but fun. Many of us left with more knowledge of the bee and beekeeping than we came with. Many thanks to Mr P for all his hard work.
UPDATE: May 5th 2011 - The Hive has been sited in the orchard between the Big Hug and Tin Shed along the hedgerow. The winning stake was No.4 belonging to Tim Kemp. Congratulations! He will be receiving the first jar of honey extracted but first we need some bees!
UPDATE: May 17th 2011 - Breaking news: We have a swarm of bees living in Dragon Orchard’s hive. They needed a little help in finding it but they have settled in and are being productive – you could say it is a hive of activity! Hopefully honey will be soon!
About 14 people were on the course, all hoping for Richard and Linda to reveal their secrets, and enable us to get closer to their standard.
We were not dissapointed!
Rich led the workshop with some back to basics work on how cameras "see" and how best to overcome your camera's limitations, to achieve the depth of field and exposure you want. He then moved onto composition, demonstrating some of the rules with his own photos. Each session was punctuated with an opportunity to take shots ourselves, including help with portrait work - something I know I stuggle with!
In the afternoon, Linda told us her techniques to capture stunning wildlife shots, and gave us the chance to take photos of a Scops owl and a young Kestrel brought by the International Centre for Birds of Prey based in nearby Newent. We managed to take shots, close up and in flight with our two very obliging and beautiful models!
Our final assignment (after a tasting session!) was to capture the essense of the orchard, using the techniques learned throughout the day.
All in all, everyone really enjoyed the day, and went away enthused and more knowledgable than they arrived.
A big thank you to Richard and Linda for an excellent day!
Click on "Read more" to see some of my photos I took on the day:
It's not just the blossom that's providing colour in the orchard at the moment...
Annie's sister Sue had a wander through the orchard yesterday, and with a fine eye for wildflowers counted no less than 34 different species currently in bloom!
This is a really good indicator that the orchard biodiversity is healthy, and makes for an lovely walk around the orchard.
Here is the list of flowers:
Dead Nettle, red, white and yellow
Violet, purple and mauve
Forget me Not
Ladies Smock or Cuckoo Flower, mauve and white
Our new Champagne pupitres arrived this morning, and I spent an hour loading them with our 2009 traditional method sparkling perry and cider.
I will riddle these bottles twice a day in an attempt to get the yeast on the crown cap in time for the Big Apple Blossomtime Competition! - a bit of a tall order.... I've got 16 days... normally it takes 24 days... wish me luck!