Over the last couple of weeks I have been photographing tree planting at Compton Bishop where Thatchers have been busy planting 100,000 young apple trees – putting in some classic cider apple varieties such as Vilberry and Dabinett, as well as traditional varieties such as Tom Putt and Stoke Red. The weather has been kind and the planting swift, and it’s been great to view the team working together, as many of the office staff and members of Martin’s family have turned out to help.
Below is a selection of pictures from last weeks shoot and of course another extract with pics from the new thatchers book, Then and Now.
Planting continued as demand grew, so that by the
late 1980s Myrtle Farm was surrounded by flourishing
apple trees. By the end of the next decade there
were about 180 acres of orchards containing many
thousands of trees, from Webbers to the more recent
Nye Road, Shipham and Sacofs Orchards (all planted
From time to time particular orchards have been
commemorated in ciders that have born their name,
such as the company’s first single orchard cider,
Christon Orchard, which was launched in 2005 as a
companion to Katy and the newly-released Vintage.
These ciders were sold in sleek green 75cl bottles,
similar in size to wine bottles but distinctively
streamlined, reflecting in their design Thatchers’
desire to emulate the high standards of wine
producers while remaining determinedly different.
The orchard itself is a familiar sight to travellers
on the M5, lying just across the motorway from the
Webbington Hotel and Crook Peak; first planted with
standard trees in the 1920s it was then replanted by
Thatchers near the end of the century, with Somerset
Redstreak, Katy, Morgan Sweet and Ashton Bitter
growing alongside older varieties like Porter’s
Perfection and Harry Masters Jersey. For the single
orchard cider each variety was pressed and fermented
separately, then the ciders blended for the desired