Apple Festival at Cotehele

Every year we usually run a programme of events celebrating the orchards at Cotehele. Due to the on-going coronavirus crisis we are unable to host our festival in the orchard this year. However we have moved lots of great content online so you can enjoy the festivities and continue to the celebrate the orchards at home.

Giant apple artwork made of apples

Please book ahead before visiting the garden and orchard 

The garden and orchard at Cotehele are now open. We've introduced advance booking to keep everyone safe and maintain social distancing. To avoid disappointment please book in advance, especially at busier times such as weekends and bank holidays. You can book your tickets online or by calling 0344 249 1895. Where space is available on weekdays, pre-booking may not always be necessary. You do not need to book to visit the quay or wider estate. We're looking forward to welcoming you back.

The orchards at Cotehele are just a few of the 200 orchards across the country looked after by the National Trust. Traditional orchards are part of our heritage but also a vital part of our future. As well as providing us with beautiful spaces to relax and delicious food and drink to enjoy they are home to many birds, bees, butterflies and insects.

Every year we usually run a programme of events celebrating the orchards at Cotehele. Due to the on-going coronavirus crisis we are unable to host our festival in the orchard this year. However we have moved lots of great content online so you can enjoy the festivities and continue to the celebrate the orchards at home.

 

View of the orchard at Cotehele
View of the orchard at Cotehele in the summer
View of the orchard at Cotehele

A core issue

Due to changes in agricultural practices and pressures from development, orchard numbers have fallen by 63% since the 1950s. With your support, the National Trust plans to reverse this decline and restore this rare and valuable habitat and the wildlife that live in it by planting 68 new orchards on sites in England and Wales by 2025.

We appreciate your support more than ever as we work to ensure the places and nature we look after can continue to be enjoyed by everyone when it’s safe for us to be together again. Without you, all the work we do wouldn’t be possible.

Support our essential work Make a donation

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Why are traditional orchards so important?

Traditional orchards are far better for wildlife than commercial ones. Without the pressure of needing to produce large quantities of fruit for sale the trees are planted future apart and wildflowers often grown underneath them to encourage pollinators to pollinate blossom when the trees flower in spring.

Red admiral butterfly on apple branch at Cotehele, Cornwall
Red admiral butterfly on apple branch at Cotehele, Cornwall
Red admiral butterfly on apple branch at Cotehele, Cornwall

 

Cotehele’s Orchards

Cotehele’s Mother Orchard was planted twelve years ago with over 300 trees and 125 different varieties of apple tree including the Cornish Honeypinnick, Limberlimb, Pig’s Nose and Lemon Pippin.

The varieties grown in the Mother Orchard have been bred over the last 250 years to survive the mild and damp climatic conditions of the south west peninsula. The intention of the orchard is to provide a reference set of ‘mother trees’ that can be used for the selection of future varieties for both domestic and commercial use.

 

Dedicate a donation

The planting of the Mother Orchard twelve years ago wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for supporters who sponsored over 130 trees within the orchard. Many trees planted to mark a personal occasion, such as a wedding anniversary, birthday, christenings or to remember friends and family.

Twelve years later we are asking for your support again during these challenging times. Unfortunately we’ve experienced a sharp drop in our income, which threatens our essential conservation work at a time when people need access to nature. By dedicating a donation today, you’ll be supporting the work we do to look after the places so many people love – thank you.

Autumn Brimham walk

Remember what makes a place special

Support Cotehele by dedicating a donation to someone special and add your precious memories to our interactive map. A unique way to remember a loved one or celebrate a special occasion, your donation will help us care for Cotehele for years to come.

 

The Cider Press in Cotehele's orchard

The nineteenth-century cider press came from Bovey Tracey in Devon. After spending over 30 years at Cotehele Mill it was moved to the Mother Orchard and restored.

When all the ripe apples have been harvested by hand from the orchards, the apples are made into a pulp using a crushing mill and two granite rollers. The apple pulp is then put on the cider press in layers, using straw to stop the pulp from falling out of the press. The layers of straw and pulp are called a ‘cheese’. The wooden plate of the cider press is then lowered onto the cheese. As the screw is tightened, the juice is squeezed out of the cheese and collected. The press can squeeze about 1.5 tonnes of pulped apples in one go, making around 900 litres of apple juice. It’s good to drink straight away for juice, but if you’re after cider then the juice is stored in air tight containers where it naturally ferments for up to six months. The sugar turns to alcohol making cider.

Building the 'cheese' on the Victorian cider press at Cotehele
Building the 'cheese' on the Victorian cider press at Cotehele
Building the 'cheese' on the Victorian cider press at Cotehele

All this talk of making cider making you thirsty? We hope to be able to produce our own cider in the future, but for now you can pick up a bottle of Jack Ratt scrumpy from our online shop. Made especially for the National Trust, this cider is sharp and fruity and made following a traditional recipe of West Country cider apples.

 

Join in with the apple celebrations at home

Get cooking – apple recipes to enjoy this autumn

As part of the festival we would usually have lots of tasty treats made using apples collected from Cotehele’s orchard for you to try. We didn’t want you to miss out so with the help of some of our friends at other National Trust properties, here are some recipes for you to try at home.

You’ll find more great recipe ideas in our cookbooks, available to buy from our online shop.

Freshly pressed apple juice streaming from a wooden press

How to make cider

Our friends at Mottisfont in Hampshire have put together a handy step-by-step guide on how to create your own cider at home using ripe apples and crab apples.

Family fun - get creative

Get the whole family involved with celebrating all things apple with these downloadable family activities.