Doing the Lambrook walk – hey!
Like drinking cider? Then see how it gets into the bottle on this cider orchard walk. The walk starts and ends in the village of East Lambrook (grid ref ST 431190) and takes in some rather nice countryside including Burrow Hill and, at this time of year, stunning views of the flooded Levels – as well as a working cider press and still (where you can buy cider and cider brandy), a couple of pubs and a tearoom for sustenance at the beginning, middle and end.
It’s an easy (though muddy) walk just of under 5 miles, so allow at least 2 and a half hours’ walking time. The route passes through fields, orchards, up a slight hill, and you do have to scramble across a fair few stiles. Great for dogs; there are sheep en route but they’re all over the hedge. You can find full details of the route and a map here. You don’t have to hang the map round your neck in a plastic envelope if you don’t want to.
Let’s get started
Park near East Lambrook Manor with its Grade 1 listed cottage gardens created by Margery Fish. Take the track signposted Hawthorn Hill which is almost opposite the Manor.
The route takes you across fields and down muddy tracks. You can peer through brambly hedges and take photos of cute sheep in orchards. It’s traditional that old style cider orchards have tall trees (‘standards’) with grass below grazed by sheep.
You’ll walk through lots of orchards, which will be stunning in a few weeks’ time when they’re in blossom.
…cross tiny wooden bridges…
…and sniff the scent of fermenting windfalls (rather nice).
Just under half way you can have a refreshment/loo stop at the Rusty Axe village pub in Stembridge. Closed when we passed (we were up and out that early), it serves real ales, local cider and pub grub and has a garden.
A little further along, you reach the crest of a gentle slope from where you can get stunning views of the Levels beyond. The route then passes down some incredibly muddy tracks (I hope you’re wearing those boots)…
…into a field with orchard tree stumps, down winding lanes, past farms and on up to the summit of Burrow Hill.
Take a breather here, before dropping back down to the lane to Pass Vale Farm and to the Burrow Hill Cider & Somerset Cider Brandy Company…
…which sits in 160 acres of cider apple orchards. They’ve been pressing cider here for over 150 years and some of the equipment looks as it it could be original. Two copper stills called Josephine and Fifi distill cider into an eau de vie which is stored in oak barrels for up to 20 years to mature into a cider brandy.
You can buy both in the dark and eccentric little shop (ring for service).
After leaving the farm, the route passed through more fields and orchards…
…until you reach a lane which takes you back into East Lambrook, where you can stop off for a cider or other tipple in the 17th century village pub The Rose & Crown
… or for tea, coffee, homemade apple juice and locally made cake in East Lambrook Manor’s Malthouse Cafe (open 10am-5pm, Tues-Sat & Suns May-July).
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