COUN­TRY DAYS

Cel­e­brate ru­ral Kent with ap­ple days and hop har­vest cel­e­bra­tions. By An­gela Cole

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - CONTENT -

Ap­ples and or­chards are syn­ony­mous with the Ken­tish coun­try­side and for many of the county’s Na­tional Trust prop­er­ties har­vest time is the per­fect time to share knowl­edge of car­ing for or­chards and ap­ples.

The Na­tional Trust kicks off its har­vest days across the county and the south east this week­end, when visi­tors can try ap­ple press­ing, tast­ing sweet treats or pick­ing up items with ap­ple good­ness to take home. The first this week­end is at Scot­ney Cas­tle in Lam­ber­hurst which is the Na­tional Trust’s one and only hop farm. As part of its Hops and Honey Week­end ,you can join a guided hop walk, which will show you how hops are grown, how they’re picked and their dry­ing and pack­ag­ing ready to be sent to the Wester­ham brew­ery.

The week­end on Satur­day, Septem­ber 8 and Sun­day, Septem­ber 9, be­tween 10am and 4pm has walks at 11am and 2pm At Small­hythe Place in Ten­ter­den, Or­chard Day comes on Satur­day, Septem­ber 15, be­tween 11am and 4pm.

Visi­tors can ex­plore the gar­den, tra­di­tional or­chard and nut­tery on the day and sam­ple pro­duce from the prop­erty, and pe­ruse stalls with lo­cal pro­duce. From fresh pro­duce straight from the trees, to plants, tasty treats and gar­den gifts, the day out will help the fam­ily get back to na­ture.

The event is free with nor­mal ad­mis­sion costs.

On Satur­day, Septem­ber 29, Ightham Mote will hold its Ap­ple and Or­chard Day be­tween 11am and 4pm. The or­chard at Ightham Mote is home to a va­ri­ety of her­itage ap­ple trees, which you can try be­fore you buy

A SWEET TREAT: HONEY & HOPS

Noth­ing is more syn­ony­mous with the Kent coun­try­side than oast houses and the an­nual hops har­vest and at Scot­ney Cas­tle es­tate in Lam­ber­hurst it’s ex­tra spe­cial, as it still has a fully work­ing hop farm, still pro­duc­ing hops to make ale.

The Hops and Honey Week­end has stalls, a hog roast and, to wash it down, lo­cal ale from Wester­ham Brew­ery. Be­sides tours of the farm and see­ing the hop har­vest there’s a chance to meet bee­keep­ers and try lo­cal honey from Brays Bees and Owlets, in Lam­ber­hurst; beeswax can­dles, pol­ish, honey soap and other sweet treats.

Also on show will be the Hop­ping Down and Fam­ily of Hop Pick­ers sculp­tures by Si­mon Conolly, show­ing hop pick­ers and hop pick­ing in the area from days gone by, which will be in the gar­den un­til De­cem­ber. to take home. Along with the ap­ples from the or­chard, there will be a mini-mar­ket fea­tur­ing a num­ber of stalls with themed lo­cal prod­ucts, and of course, plenty of ap­ple-based dishes on of­fer in the tea room. The event is free with nor­mal ad­mis­sion costs.

Just over the bor­der, Bate­man’s in East Sus­sex holds its Ap­ple Day on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 14, be­tween 11am and 4pm.

You can ex­plore the or­chards, sam­ple the dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of ap­ples grown there and have a go at mak­ing ap­ple juice with the home­made ap­ple mill and press.

Tasty or­chard pro­duce on of­fer in­cludes warm­ing mulled cider, jams, honey, chut­neys and ap­ples, plus you can meet the bee­keep­ers and learn how the bees and the or­chard work together to pro­duce the au­tumn har­vest.

The free event with nor­mal ad­mis­sion costs also fea­tures games to play and or­chard crafts.

Nearby, Monks House in East Sus­sex holds its Ap­ple Day on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 6, be­tween 12.30pm and 5pm.

There will be ap­ple press­ing and ap­plethemed games through­out the af­ter­noon. The trust is a con­ser­va­tion char­ity which is en­tirely in­de­pen­dent of the gov­ern­ment, and looks after more than 250,000 hectares of coun­try­side, 778 miles of coast­line and hun­dreds of spe­cial places across Eng­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land. For more in­for­ma­tion on the Na­tional Trust’s work and more days out go to na­tion­al­trust.org.uk or like the Face­book page at face­book.com/na­tion­al­trust

Scot­ney Cas­tle in Lam­ber­hurst has the Na­tional Trust’s only work­ing hop farm in the coun­try

The Na­tional Trust’s Ap­ple Days give visi­tors some hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties to learn about ru­ral life and more about Kent’s har­vest time

See Si­mon Conolly’s hop pick­ers sculp­tures

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