It’s Cider Making Time – West Country Style

cider making west country style
cider making west country style

Cider Making - West Country Style

Friends… Romans… Country Bumpkins, lend me your beers (and more importantly, ciders!), jump off your haystacks and come with us on a little tour of the finest drink known to man in these ‘ere parts.  Lovely, home-grown Scrumpy Cider.

Nearly half the apples grown in the UK are now used to make cider.  Thousands of orchards have been planted to keep up with the demand.  And this is the time of year farmers the land over will be harvesting their apples to make your favourite Amber Nectar.

cider making west country style

Imagine the scene, it’s a lovely sunny day, you’re reclining on a deckchair in the garden and sipping on your next pint of cider, total bliss.  But what you might not realise is that there’s a just a little bit of history and folklore that went into that gulp.

The old Somerset custom called Wassailing talks of cider being poured over tree roots to bless the trees and produce a bumper crop for the forthcoming season.  Then, (this is my favourite bit) there’s the ‘Apple Tree Man’, the spirit of the oldest tree in the whole orchard.  There’s an old West Country tale where a man leaves his last mug of mulled cider to the trees, and the spirit of the Apple Tree Man takes him straight to the buried treasure.  I mean, come on, what more incentive do you need to believe in the power of the Scrumpy?

cider making west country style

Even better news is that the best time to believe in that power is now.  Why now you may ask?  Well, this year’s cider harvest is upon us and the freshest apples are there, begging to be picked and made into cider.  In fact, it’s very easy to make it yourself and there are lots of great recipes out there.  What’s more rewarding and cheaper than pressing your own cider?

I’ve bought a cider making kit this year and have the feverish determination of a rampant Wassailer.  I’ve carefully picked the best apples from our garden and will be looking forward to the bit where I get to throw them into a big bucket and punish them with a pole.  After the therapeutic fun bits comes the waiting, the long wait.  But there is good news, if you let the cider ferment now it should allow for the best taste in time for Christmas.  And let’s be honest, what better present to receive than seeing Auntie Pat writhing on the living room floor after three pints of homemade cider and a friendly game of twenty questions?

cider making west country style

On the other hand, if you, like most sane people, just love drinking homegrown cider then there are lots of cider tours around.  Here at West Country Games, we offer a traditional tour with the best in homegrown cider without having to make any effort at all.  We’ll transport you to two countryside pubs, a cider farm (where you taste a further four ciders with a fine selection of cheese), and then get driven back to your humble abode.  Life doesn’t get much sweeter than this, even the ‘Apple Tree Man’ leading you to buried treasure sounds a bit rubbish in comparison.

If, for some strange reason I haven’t managed to sway your opinion on the humble West County cider then I feel there’s no hope left for you.  And as for you James Lavis, you’re dismissed.  Mainly because I am tired, and incredibly pissed.

cider making west country style

For almost 8 years I’ve called Bristol home and 5 of those have been spent out in the West Country Games field with a scoreboard and camera and groups of fun, feisty and often very hungover stags and hens. West Country Games sums up one of the things I love most about Bristol, there’s always something different and often slightly crazy going on.

Anyway, must go, I can hear the last track of ‘The Best of the Wurzels’ playing.

Katie has worked as an Activity Instructor, Site Manager and Event Assistant over the 5 years she’s been working at West Country Games.

Bristol firework displays – Our pick of the best Bristol firework displays

bristol fireworks
bristol fireworks

Our best pick of the best Bristol firework displays

It’s that time of year when we huddle around a fire and watch as the skies are lit with fireworks to celebrate Bonfire Night, watching some of the best Bristol firework displays.

This of course is a celebration of the famous foiled Gun Power Plot, following Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.  And as we enter one of the most worrying political climates of recent times, perhaps you too will find yourself wondering whether we just might have been better off letting our mate Guy finish the job!

But put that to one side for the time being and get yourselves out to one of the organised Bristol fireworks displays or bonfires in your area of.  After all, with BBQ’s, mulled cider and hog roasts accompanying various other live entertainment for the whole family, you’ll be missing out otherwise!

Here’s a round-up of all the best of what’s happening in Bristol.  Local schools and communities may have even more shows lined up.

Here is our Bristol firework display guide for 2018

Bristol Firework Displays

Downend Round Table Bristol Fireworks – Friday 2nd November 2018

Bristol’s biggest firework display, Downend Round Table never fail to deliver a spectacular show! Head over to King George V playing fields early as not only is there a super long musically coordinated pyrotechnic masterpiece but are also fairground rides, a stage with live music and performances and, perhaps most importantly, a bar.. I mean hot dog stand! The children’s display starts at 6:30pm and the main display at 8:00pm.

Time: 17:30 – 21:00

Tickets: £7.00 per adult, £5 per child (under 16), under 3 free

Where : King George V playing fields, Downend, BS16 6QW

Henleaze Infant School Fireworks Night – Friday 9th November 2018

A family friendly event in the grounds of Henleaze school. There will be the usual fare of hot dogs and burgers to keep you going along with warming hot chocolate, coffee, festive mulled wine and even Prosecco on offer to make it a special occasion!

Time: 18:00

Tickets: £5 adults, £3 children

Where:Henleaze Infant School, Park Grove, Henleaze, BS9 4LG

bristol fireworks 2016

DoubleTree by Hilton Cadbury House – Saturday 27th October 2018

Cadbury House always put on a great firework display. It’s worth driving out of town for this one, there’s plenty of parking and tonnes of entertainment for all the family! This year, Dennis Demille, the jazz and soul singing Britain’s Got Talent Semi-finalist will be performing too!

Time: 17:00– 21:30

Tickets: £6.50 adults, £3 children

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House, Congresbury, BS49 5AD

Canford Park Charity Fireworks Fiesta – Saturday 10th November 2018

One of the best Bristol fireworks displays, we definitely recommend a visit to Canford Park! This year it’s the week after bonfire night so you may even be able to take in two huge displays one weekend after the other! This is our top tip for the Saturday night. Run by the Bristol Round Table and Rotary Club, the money goes to some amazing local causes too so make sure you snap up a ticket and get involved!

Time: Gates open 17:30

Tickets: £5 in advance £6 on the gate (under 3’s free)

Where: Canford Lane, Westbury-on-Trym, BS9 3NX

Bishop Road Fireworks Extravaganza – Saturday 10th November 2018

Another great school fireworks display which never fails to amaze.  All proceeds of ticket sales going to the school.

This display also promises some great nosh and beer, what better way to keep yourself entertained!

Time: 17:00 – 21:00

Tickets: £6 (Children £3; under 3’s free)

Where: School Field, Off Bishop Road, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 8LQ

bristol fireworks 2016

Fireworks to Music at Avon Valley – Monday 5th November 2018

Fireworks are always brilliant when timed to music especially when done well like they are at Avon Valley! A firm favourite on the calendar, this is another large display complete with funfair, sparkler zone and plenty of food and drink! Fear not, the furry residents of the park are kept well away from the loud bangs!

Time: 17:30 – 21:30

Tickets: From £3.50

Where: Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park, Pixash Lane, Keynsham, BS31 1TP

Victoria Park Bonfire Night – Monday 5th November 2018

Tickets: free! No fireworks.  Bring your own contributions for the bonfire (wood only!) and enjoy a proper family friendly affair.

Time: 18:00 – 21:00

Tickets: Free! No fireworks.  Bring your own contributions for the bonfire (wood only!)

Where: Victoria Park, Totterdown, Bristol, BS3 4DP

Bonfire Night at Boiling Wells, St Werburghs City Farm – Saturday 3rd November 2018

For one evening only, Boiling Wells will again get a UV makeover. The usual live music, BBQ & bar, plus wood fire, free s’more circle, UV facepainting, our famous UV barn Kid’s Rave, and much more!

Time: 16:00 – 20:00

Tickets: £8, under 12’s free.  Free glowstick for all entrants!  Live music, mulled bar, kids Barn Rave. No fireworks to keep the animals happy!

Where: Boiling Wells Woodland, St Werburghs City Farm, Watercress Road, BS2 9XY

bristol fireworks 2016

Fireworks at Sea at The Grand Pier – Saturday 17th November 2018

You can’t beat watching fireworks over water so where better to catch a display than on the pier at Weston-Super-Mare looking out to sea (okay, Severn Estuary!). Grab the best spot by booking tickets on the pier itself so truly appreciate the beautiful reflections cast into the water below. This is definitely a display with a bit of a difference and one to remember forever!

Time: 18:00

Tickets: From £7.50

Where: The Grand Pier, Marine Parade, Weston-Super-Mare, BS23 1AL

Puxton Park Bonfire Night Fireworks Display – Saturday 3rd November 2018

This is a proper professional affair with fireworks display team Fire Magic returning to put on an absolute corker of a night! This award-winning company will blow your socks off with their pyrotechnical wizardry! Not only that but you can also go on many of the park attractions along with children’s rides and the giant soft-play barn. There will be stalls, a hog roast and a BBQ to top it all off!

Time: 17:00 – 21:00

Tickets: £7 adults, £25 family of four

Where: Puxton Park, Cowslip Lane, Weston Super Mare, BS24 6AH