The Tree Path
"Everything is dependent upon everything else ... "
Looked at from a different angle if we lose the real cider we lose the need for cider barrels, flagons, wassail bowls, mugs, tools, troughs, presses. We lose people and their expertise.
We lose interest in the artefacts and the buildings, including pubs, often particular to their place.
They are devalued, left to rot, mislaid, broken up and with them fades the knowledge, the self esteem and soon the orchards, the varieties, the wild life. the community of interest overlaying the community of place which makes local distinctiveness reverberate with authenticity.
Everything is dependent upon everything else culture and nature when so finely tuned as in the Somerset or Hereford landscapes with apples is not a still life, but an intimately woven working world. A world that people are proud to live and labour in, a world which outsiders want to look into.
The orchards may, like that threatened with housing development at Bawdrip in Somerset, have persisted in the same spot since the 16th century. Through this place the history of the village can be told. Call it wood pasture and nature conservationists listen more eagerly.
The trees may be amongst the oldest of their variety. In Southwell, Nottinghamshire great pride is taken in the fact that this is the home of the original Bramley apple tree (above). It should carry the name Mary Ann Brailsford for it was this young girl who around 1809 planted pips, a sapling of which was planted in the garden of their cottage in Church Street. Mr Bramley bought the place in 1846. Ten years later 17 year old Henry Merryweather, a fledgling nurseryman recognised the worth of the apples taken from Mr Bramley's tree and started taking grafts. By 1862 he was selling them and in 1876 he won a 'highly commended' from the RHS. By the time the 20th century began, the original Bramley was reclining, it had been blown over by a storm, and in mid century various interventions were made to ensure its survival. We shall never know if they were for better or worse, but it still thrives in the garden with enough vigour to produce a ton of apples as it approaches the start of its third century.
"... an elbow in the soil ... "