Posted 24th Feb 2016 by Peter Byrne
The heart of Somerset is hosting a series of historic cider apple trees
Montacute House, a National Trust estate, has been donated almost 300 different cider apples by Henry May, who has collected old varieties for 25 years. With some of the collection now being incredibly rare - and at a risk of extinction - it is hoped that the orchard will ensure that the collection is preserved for generations to come.
This will involve planting two saplings of each variety at a series of Trust properties in the county that the apple originally came from.
It is hoped that within seven years, the apples could even be used to make cider that has not been had for centuries, as volunteers are carefully planting the saplings.
The National Trust's wildlife and countryside advisor for the south west, Simon Ford, said: “Some of them are virtually gone, but there are some fantastic old historic names that make it quite exciting in itself.”
However it is not only the preservation of cider that is on the list, with the saplings expected to have an impact on wildlife too. The trees will also lead to a whole variety of bird activity in the trees, from bullfinches to fieldfare.
Image courtesy of Getty / Photolibrary / Tony Howell