PICTURES: Historic house set to celebrate bumper apple harvest
A celebration will be held over this year's bountiful harvest of apples at one of the Westcountry's most treasured and historic estates.
In stark contrast to last autumn, the Killerton National Trust estate, near Exeter, is celebrating a bumper crop of apples with a weekend-long cider and apple festival.
The months of apple picking culminate in an annual family festival to mark National Apple Day.
Helen Trebble, Killerton community access officer, said: "This weekend we invite families to grab a sack and join us in the orchard to help pick up apples. There will be mini wheelbarrows for our little helpers too!"
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Preparations for the festivities have already begun – by the end of the week the orchard will be festooned with bunting, stalls will be scattered between the apple trees and the smell of a hog roast will greet visitors at the gates.
Activities for the children include mask-making and a bumble bee parade through the orchard. Youngsters can also forage for their own apples and cook them over a camp fire with Exeter Forest School.
Older children can try 'William Tell archery' under the tuition of the Exeter Company of Archers. And for adults, the Killerton cider bar will be serving the estate's award-winning cider alongside local wines and ales.
Families can also bring a small bag of their own apples to press into a bottle of juice to take home.
Helen said: "Last year's irregular growing season meant our 58 acres of orchards experienced the lowest yield in decades. Today 600 apple trees at Killerton are groaning under the weight of fruit-filled branches." Estate warden Ed Nicholson added: "We're expecting to yield 15 tons of apples which will be pressed into 7,000 litres of juice.
"We need extra volunteers this weekend to help collect our bumper crop in time and the Killerton cider and apple weekend is the perfect opportunity to get some much-needed help!"
The apple weekend takes place today and tomorrow from 10am until 5pm.