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Drove Orchards at Thornham celebrate 65th anniversary with open day and new cider

Jules Painter picking apples at Drove Orchards in Thornham, where there will be an open day on October 1st. Picture: Ian Burt

Jules Painter picking apples at Drove Orchards in Thornham, where there will be an open day on October 1st. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A heritage orchard is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a bumper apple day and new cider.

Drove Orchards in Thornham is having an open day on October 1st. Picture: Ian BurtDrove Orchards in Thornham is having an open day on October 1st. Picture: Ian Burt

Drove Orchards were planted beside the A149 coast road at Thornham, near Hunstanton, in 1952.

Major David Jamieson first planted the orchards that exist today in the 1950s when, having won the Victoria Cross for his part in the Normandy Landings, aged 23, he decided to return to his family home. He said at the time he intended to “work with wildlife”.

Starting with a few Cox’s Orange Pippin trees, the orchards have since grown to cover 40 acres of the 350-acre farm, growing more than 160 varieties of apple, around 120 of which are East Anglian heritage varieties.

Fresh grafts have recently been taken from Maj Jamieson’s original apple trees, so the strain he first introduced can continue in a new orchard.

Drove Orchards in Thornham is having an open day on October 1st. Picture: Ian BurtDrove Orchards in Thornham is having an open day on October 1st. Picture: Ian Burt

His parents bought what was then marshland betwen Holme and Thornham in the 1920s, to stop it being developed. It now forms part of the coast’s area of natural beauty.

As well as the orchards and farm shop, Drove now also hosts a fishmonger, two restaurants, independent shops, a garden nursery, luxury glamping and fish and chip restaurant.

The fruit farm is throwing open its gates to visitors on Sunday, October 1 (10am - 4pm).

Visitors will be able to try the new Drove Orchards Cider and tour the pressing sheds where apples are crushed for their juice.

They can also pick their own apples, pears and plums from the trees.

There will also be trade, craft and food stands, many of which will celebrate traditional rural crafts and bygones.

They will include be a working blacksmith’s forge and a display of vintage agricultural and horticultural machinery, tools and vehicles. There will also be a willow weaver giving demonstrations, while Cromer fishermen will be showing their traditional ways of making crab and lobster pots.

Paul Murrell, events manager at Drove Orchards said, “We have some fantastic exhibitors and demonstrations and this will be a fun day for the whole family”.

A BBQ and refreshments will also be available on site and all the normal retail outlets at Drove Orchards will be open on October 1.

Parking and admission are free.

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