There is little to beat a perfect September day in the English countryside – blue skies, dappled sunlight and a hint of autumn in the air. If we’re lucky enough for one of these perfect days to fall on a Friday or at the weekend our family of five head to West Bradley Orchard for a day of apple and pear picking.
This beautiful orchard is open to the public on at the weekends during September only and is the perfect place to pack a picnic and spend an afternoon. The children ride wheelbarrows, pick fruit to their heart’s content and enjoy squashing windfall apples in their wellies.
There is something delightful about strolling through the fruit-laden branches, picking just enough to take home to make juice or a delicious apple pie. The main pleasure for me though, lies in being surrounded by such a beautiful landscape and I could pick not a single apple and still have had the most perfectly lovely time.
Somerset is cider county and within this orchard there are so many more varieties grown than those sold on the high street. Jonagold, Worcester Pearmain and Cox’s Orange Pippin are some of the apples whilst for pear lovers there are Beth, Comice and Concorde.
This area is so rich with fruit-growing that often on the way back we’ll stop at at nearby fruit farm and finish of the day with raspberries, gooseberries and blackberries to complete our feast.
Images by Catherine Jolliffe