Tucked away in the village of Burley is the New Forest Cider Farm. A family run, traditional farm house cider maker. Visiting the New Forest Cider shop found behind the Forest Tea rooms in Pound Lane, you step back in time, and get a glimpse of life on a cider farm in the good ‘ole days.
Entering the shop, the first thing to strike you is the large oak barrels behind the counter. I was offered the chance to taste a few of the varieties of cider made here, poured straight from these old oak casks. After my cider tasting, I bought a couple of litres of draught, medium cider, called ‘Snake-Catcher Scrumpy’. I haven’t tasted anything like it. It’s not as clear as the mass produced stuff, but then New Forest Cider use the traditional ways of cider making. Creating a rich scrumpy without added chemicals and full of flavour.
At 7.4 percent, Snake-Catcher has a bite to it, just like the New Forest Adder. The label shows Brusher Mills, the New Forest snake catcher, who over a century ago used to wander the forest collecting snakes including the poisonous and potentially dangerous Adder. This homebrew is no poison though, the night after drinking my purchase, I am left without a cloudy head or fermented apple juice induced hangover. New Forest Cider also produce cider cakes and a fabulous apple juice too, which my seven year old daughter described as "the best apple juice I have ever tasted".
Cider Apple Orchard
New Forest Cider have their own orchard found adjacent to the shop and cider press. From here they grow and pick worcester and cox’s apples plus some cooking varieties. At my time of visiting I was fortunate to watch them harvest some worcester apples which are ripe even now near the end of august. No mass production equipment here. Just hand-picked apples from the low slung gnarly apple trees.
These old timer methods of cider making are sustainable too. Any apples not grown on the farm are sourced only from other local orchards. The result is an eco-friendly product. They even bottle them on site too.
The UK is the world leader is cider making and consumption. But nowadays most of us are used only to the mass produced cider available from our local supermarket. The Spanish have their Rioja, the Italians may swig on Chianti and the French are famous for their champagne. Britain was made Great with cider and scrumpy.
Visit the Cider Farm
New Forest Cider may not be a household name like some of the UK’s larger brands. The New Forest may not be famous for its cider production. But if like me, you find yourself in this wonderful cider emporium, then you too may be bitten by the unique flavour and attention to detail that the family run New Forest Cider produce. A great place to visit and a fascinating insight into the lost art of farm house produced cider.
I heard a sound as of scraping tripe, And putting apples wondrous ripe, Into a cider- press’s gripe.
The Stable Gallery
Next to the cider house is The Stable Gallery which houses a large selection of prints from local artist, Barry Whitcher. Mainly of the forest landscapes and in particular the New Forest Pony, these prints are a wonderful collection of images of the New Forest. Making a great gift or poignant memento of your visit to the New Forest.
Behind the car park are a couple of old gypsy caravans plus a steam engine, which all adds to the interest of visiting this farm. It’s also a nice place for a picnic with a couple of picnic tables from which you can savour their brews, and watch geese, chickens and cows in some of the adjacent fields.
Visit New Forest Cider
Follow signs from A31 or A35 to Burley. The cider farm is 200m down Pound Lane behind the forest tea house and restaurant.
New Forest Cider
Tel: 01425 403589
Website: New Forest Cider