South West England

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Cornish Orchards

Cornish Orchards, so named in 1992, is situated on Westnorth Manor Farm, which has been part of the Duchy of Cornwall estate since the early 1950s. At one stage Andy Atkinson, the founder and managing director of the orchard set up, previously worked the farm as a dairy farm with around 100 dairy cows.

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a'Beckett's Vineyard

a’Becketts is a family-run vineyard and orchard in a beautiful location making wine, cider and apple juice. Established in 2001 by Paul and Lynne Langham halfway between Avebury and Stonehenge, as well as its nine acres of vines, it has Wiltshire's last commercial orchard, with six acres of apple trees.

More cider apple trees have been added, and both cider and apple juice are produced. Although not registered as such, the fields are farmed organically.

The Langhams have also recently planted 10 different sorts of perry trees. All products are vegan-friendly.

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Bristol Cider Shop

The people at Bristol Cider Shop have made it their mission in life to showcase the finest artisan cider and perry in the West Country, and they're doing a very good job. Absolutely everything that they sell is local, natural and made by small independent producers on traditional cider farms. Anyone with an interest is welcome to visit the shop and sample some cider - they have a rolling selection of over 80 varieties of draught and bottled, in a wide variety of tastes and styles.

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Camel Valley Vineyard

Perfectly located overlooking the Camel river, Camel Valley Vineyard is an inspiring example of the new wave of English wine. Founded by Bob and Annie Lindo in the late 1980s – he was a former RAF pilot – the last few years have seen it harvest almost as many awards as grapes.

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Driftwood Brewery

Winding down the wooded road towards Trevaunance Cove near St Agnes on the north Cornish coast you feel as if you are going back in time. Just before you reach the beach, you’ll see the cheery white-painted stonework and blue-edged windows of the Driftwood Spars.

Now under the direction of vivacious Lou Treseder, this is one of the nation’s best coastal inns, and it has the gongs to prove it. As well as Cornish roots going back to the Domesday Book, hospitality is in Lou’s blood. Her gran ran a B&B and her parents have been local hoteliers for decades.

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Eastcott Vineyard

Eastcott is a  new vineyard and winery, set up by Hilary & Richard Waller.

To quote them:

"We offer personally guided tours of the vineyard & winery, with a chance to taste our first wines. 2010 sees the release of our first still wines and later our first sparkling."

The rosés in particular are doing well.

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Hall & Woodhouse, Badger Ales

Known the world over for its Badger Ales, Hall & Woodhouse's Visitor Centre provides an insight into this family brewer – the fifth generation is in charge now – over the decades as well as explaining brewing the Badger way.

The Visitor Centre is free, but take the tour if you'd like to taste the malt, smell the hops and work the machinery as you make your way round this traditional brewery. Catch a glimpse of the brewery's collection of artefacts and advertising materials and finish with a taste of the beers themselves.

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Oatley Vineyard

Make your way down a tree-covered road tunnel, past the badger sett until you arrive at a farmhouse. For that is Oatley Vineyard HQ, in rural Somerset five miles from the historic market town of Bridgwater and 13 miles from Taunton.

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Orchard Pig

Orchard Pig, based in West Bradley, in the centre of Somerset's cider making region, produce award-winning cider and apple juice.

The cider farm's name comes from the pigs who live on-site: friendly, gentle and sociable "Old Spots" who are on hand to greet everyone who comes to visit.

Otter Brewery

Sustainability has always been important to the McCaigs, and their new Eco-cellar illustrates their ability to back up conviction with action. Burying half of it in the ground, using clever construction methods and installing both solar panels and a sedum roof means the brewery saves the equivalent of 6.5 tonnes of CO2 per year.

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Palmers Brewery

Gateway to the Jurassic Coast, Bridport is also home to family-run Palmers brewery. Begun in 1794 by Dorset rope and net makers, the Gundry family, the Palmer family bought the brewery and its pubs a century later.

Today's head brewer Darren Batten swears the south-westerlies influence his beers and, with the cries of gulls overhead, that's not hard to imagine. He produces a family of five beers, from the light Copper Ale, through to the nutty, full strength Tally Ho!, a favourite since its first appearance in bottles in 1949.

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Pebblebed Vineyards

Perhaps best known for surviving the heat of the BBC's Dragon's Den, Geoff Bowen has never been afraid to put his head above the parapet. A former environmental hydrogeologist, rather than end up in hock to the bank, in the early 2000s he persuaded 20 other families to get involved with Pebblebed Vineyards. Then, inspired by visits to Chablis and St Emilion, he decided to place his Wine Cellar in the heart of the little village of Topsham rather than next to his vineyards.

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Plymouth Gin Distillery

"There is a lot of science there, but as soon as it hits the spirit still, there's a bucketful of art." So says Master Distiller Sean Harrison and, as the current curator of the 200-year old recipe for Plymouth Gin, he should know.

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Polgoon Vineyard & Orchard

Based in Penzance, Cornwall, in the South West of England Polgoon has been an award-winning winery for several years, after John and Kim Coulson, Polgoon’s owners - previously fish merchants supplying Marks & Spencers from their business based at Newlyn Fishing port – developed the vineyard from a derelict farm and outbuildings six years ago.

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Sharpham Wine & Cheese

Located in a beautiful spot in Devon with vineyards that slope determinedly down to the river Dart, there's something tranquil and carefree about the Sharpham Estate. Part of a 500-acre farm owned by the Sharpham Trust, this area has been farmed for 1000 years. The vineyard has been here for 20 years and produces a range of still and sparkling wines. It sits happily alongside Sharpham's award-winning creamery – check out the working dairy through the viewing windows.

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Sheppy's Farm & Cider Centre

Sheppy’s near Taunton is an all-year destination for all the family. Easily found – you can’t say that about all the little cider houses and breweries tucked away down leafy lanes – Sheppy’s is just off the A38, midway between Taunton and Wellington. There’s a farm shop, rural museum and a tasty tea shop, plus treasure hunts for the kids, group tours, and a self-guided tour option in the summer months.

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Skinner's Brewing Company

Located in the Cathedral City of Truro, Skinner's was born in 1997 at a time when there was very little other real ale in Cornwall. Known for its colourful beer characters and its Skinner's Sinners Choir – 30-strong, complete with shades (of course) – founder Steve Skinner has never been afraid of blazing a trail. Among the first to produce a golden ale – Cornish Knocker (a knocker is a tin mine fairy, in case you were wondering) – Steve doesn't use much dark malt, preferring to let the hops do the talking.

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St Austell Brewery

After that other favourite son of Cornwall, Ginsters, St Austell Brewery with its 170-plus pubs is the county’s second largest private employer.

With one of the country’s most go-ahead brewers, Roger Ryman, at the helm, it’s great to see that its visitor facilities match its liquid reputation. From the minute you drive up to the honey-coloured, stone-clad building, on the edges of Cornwall’s largest city, you can feel the warmth of the welcome.

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Tuckers Maltings

Visit Tuckers, the only working malthouse in the UK, to see how beer’s most fundamental ingredient, malted barley, gets its flavour. Then take a look around its beer shop, with around 200 British  beers, including examples of any bottled ales produced by the breweries supplied by Tuckers.

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Wadworth Brewery

With shire horses, the UK's only remaining Master Brewery Cooper and a signwriters studio, there's plenty to enjoy at Wadworth's brewery in the market town of Devizes.

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Wraxall Vineyard

Situated on a sunny south-facing slope between the Mendip and Quantock Hills in Somerset, Wraxall Vineyard grow a total of five grape varieties that capture the very essence of English Wine. Although the vineyard was originally planted in 1974, it had fallen into a state of disrepair by the time current owners Brian Shirley and Jacky Brayton bought it in 2007, but several years of hard graft later and the vineyard has been restored to its former glory.

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Yearlstone Vineyard

Former BBC journalist Roger White and his wife, food scientist, Juliet took over Yearlstone from English wine pioneer Gillian Pearkes in 1994. Juliet took charge of the winemaking while Roger is out in the field, and together they have made their vineyard somewhat of a hub for the south-west. Their vineyards on steep, south-facing slopes overlooking the Exe river on red Devon sandstone provide good conditions for ripening grapes – even red!

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