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Apples galore as event grows

By This is SouthDevon  |  Posted: October 09, 2008

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TORBAY'S 16th Cockington Apple Day promises to be a double-sized serving.

The annual festival is doubling in size to allow space for a marquee brimming with locally hand-crafted goods.

The popular event which attracts thousands of visitors is one of those held to mark National Apple Day. This was founded by the charity Common Ground in 1990 with the aim of raising awareness of the alarming rate at which orchards were disappearing, along with the local apple varieties, the recipes, the songs, stories, tree pruning techniques and traditions like wassailing.

Of the 6,000 varieties of apple once grown in Britain, only nine are now readily available in the supermarkets.

Thanks to modern farming methods, rapid transport and the importation of cheap fruit from abroad, along with new methods of horticultural production and storage as well as new building and development, many old orchards have been lost.

Devon alone has lost 90 per cent of its orchards since 1965 and areas such as Yalberton Valley outside Paignton have lost acres of orchards and many of the cider-making businesses that used them.

Cockington village also had a long tradition of apple growing and cider making, and one of the highlights of the day will be pressing two tonnes of apples on Cockington's five-tonne Victorian press. Visitors will be able to take away a carton of freshly-pressed juice and try their hand at home-brewed cider.

The West Country food marquee will offer samples of tempting produce including local beer, ciders, juices, breads, pastries, patisseries, preserves, cheese, chocolates and, of course, apples, including the toffee variety.

For the hungry there will be a hog roast, barbecue, pancakes and apple pockets baked as you wait in Cockington's clay oven 'Bertha'.

Children will enjoy making their own mini toffee apples, bobbing for apples, making pottery ornaments and taking part in the longest piece of apple peel competition.

Visitors can admire juggling and circus skills, watch Punch and Judy get up to their usual tricks, enjoy Newton Bushell Morris dancers perform and a natural history walk through Cockington's park.

The new crafts marquee includes a range of silver, gold and beaded jewellery, fashion and home accessories, contemporary wooden furniture, hand-decorated glassware and mirrors, framed, unframed and signed prints, paintings, textiles, local books, body products, cold cast bronze sculptures and hand-painted personalised children's items.

Apple Day organiser Rachel Tapper said: "The crafts are proving a popular addition to Apple Day. Cockington is the perfect setting for a local craft fayre as we already have 10 resident craft studios on site who will be open. We have received a lot of interest from craftsmen and women across Devon."

Apple Day at Cockington Court is organised by local conservation charity Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust.

The event is one of the trust's biggest fundraisers and all money raised will be ploughed back into conservation work across 1,750 acres of green sites in the resort including Berry Head National Nature Reserve and Cockington Country Park.

The festival is on Sunday, October 19 from 10am to 4pm. Entry is £3 for adults and free for children. Two free park and ride buses will run from Occombe Farm, every 20 minutes.

Read more from Torquay Herald Express

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