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'The title deeds of Gregg's Pit show the cottage and traditional orchards have been present since 1785, taking its name from a marl pit in a neighbouring orchard. This pit is said to have provided the lime mortar used to point the stonework of stunning 13th century St Bartholomew’s Church, Much Marcle.


James Marsden bought Gregg's Pit in 1992, and began to restore the cottage and orchard, which had both suffered years of neglect. As James cleared the overgrown scrub and tonnes of scrap metal, he rediscovered the many varieties of cider apple and perry pear trees, and planted new trees to fill gaps in the orchard.


James made his first perry at Gregg's Pit in 1994, re-establishing a tradition that had last taken place in the 1920s. Helen Woodman joined him in 1998, and the pair have used their combined rural knowledge and passion for nature to develop the orchard extensively over the last two decades.


When our mentor, Jean Nowell of Lyne Down Cider & Perry, retired in 2001, we commissioned a new fermenting shed at Gregg’s Pit. It was built, to Helen’s design, by George Hanscomb of Winslow Mill, Woolhope, and we installed our ancient stone press just in time for the 2002 vintage. We pressed our first cider and perry at home that year.'


Image Courtesy of Dan Barker Photography

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