Hi everyone,

I would like to have a go at making cider for the local community (free) using apples grown in our area, however I don't have any cider-making equipment and can't afford to buy it all. So I was wondering if there are any kind people living in the Bowes & Bounds area who might have some of the equipment (such as an apple mill, basket press or hydrometer) lying unused, who might be open to lending me theirs? There would be free local cider in return :)

Please share with anyone you know who might have this and be willing to lend too :)

Many thanks,


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What a wonderful idea Emily!  I'm afraid this may not be a very useful reply, more in moral support, but I'll ask a cider-making friend who might know.  

Thank you so much!

Hello again Emily

Here are three thoughts:

1.  My friend is a one of a group of cider-makers in his village (Brook, near Ashford in Kent).  He can't help with loan of equipment but has a suggestion for a collaborative project, please see below.  

2.   There's an Apple Day event in Broomfield Park community orchard Sun 17th September 1-4pm where you might meet other cider makers who could help re equipment.  (We haven't had an Apple Day (21 October) celebration in Bowes Park for ??15 years, maybe revive for 2024)?

3.  I have a couple of Common Ground's 'Apple Source Book' on my shelf which I'd like to pass on to someone interested - would you like it?

Phew!  I fancy a nice cool glass of cider now:)

Here's my Kent pal's advice..

If Emily doesn't have any luck in borrowing equipment I suggest that she gets a group of interested people and they buy the equipment together.  A press will cost around £85 and a scratter (for breaking up the apples prior to pressing) about £80 (the Brook cider makers use a garden shredder).  She will also need a couple of fermentation bins (about £25 each) or glass demi-johns, plus fermentation locks.  I never used a hydrometer until a friend with one came on board with the cider making, so not essential. A siphon tube is needed and a plastic funnel is useful.  The cider can be bottled in screw top wine bottles.  So setting up for cider making will cost around £250.  If Emily got 10 people to form a cider group they could get going for a contribution of £25 each, or less if they each bought a 1 gallon demi john.  At the end of year one they would each have a gallon of cider, which at pub prices would cost about £48, so not a bad return.  Having 10 people in the group would help with the harvesting, pressing, racking off and bottling and would become a social group.  Tell her about the Brook cider fest where we have a BBQ and blind tastings of each others cider.  As for apples, we use whatever we can get hold of, including desserts and cookers.

Hi Mary,

Thanks so much for your very kind and detailed message, and for all the enquiring you've done on my part :) The information from your friend is very useful! I don't think I can afford to buy the equipment staight up / not sure there are 10 locals who will want to invest, but I will keep trying to get hold of some cheap equipment before the apples go over!

Thank you, I would love the book, I'd never heard of Common Ground before but they look like a very interesting organisation so would love to give the book a read. I will message you directly :)

Also v interesting to hear about the apple day that used to happen on Myddleton rd!

All best,


Thanks Emily, the Myddleton Road Apple Day was a one-off, and indoors! (In an empty shop the Councilbleased to BPCA for a year.) But still fun! Re the book handover, I've accepted your request but not sure how the direct messaging works on Bowes and Bounds Connected, please educate me!


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