WHETHER it's chilled in the summer or warm and mulled in the winter, who doesn't love a glass of pure apple juice or cider?

Northwich has innumerable apple trees and small orchards, including the newly planted Memorial Orchard in Weaverham and Dane Valley Community Orchard in Rudheath, which was planted 10 years ago.

Dane Valley Community Orchard has recently partnered with Transition Northwich to help maintain it and promote the orchard to local people.

Cynthia Moore, one of the founders of Dane Valley Community Orchard explained her vision for the site:

She said: "In 2010, Northwich Anglers offered the use of part of their land to create a community orchard.

"With the help of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers we created a path and boundaries.

"We selected 20 different varieties of trees and fruit bushes, which students from Rudheath High School and their parents helped us plant.

"Our vision was to encourage local people to visit this beautiful riverside area by providing them with delicious, free fruit to pick, and an area for outdoor events.

"Thanks to Town Councillor Helen Rowlands and Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane, we have obtained funding to buy tools.

"Pete Attwood of Groundwork CLM is currently running free orchard training sessions; teaching us how to compost, prune the trees, store the wood and create wildlife habitats.

"New volunteers are always welcome on these sessions. Spaces are limited so contact Transition Northwich to book."

"It's a joy to watch fruit trees come into leaf, blossom and fruit during the year, says Transition Northwich coordinator, Alison Allum.

"But coming together to harvest, especially after the isolation caused by lock-down, is really special.

"Pressing the apples is a team effort and helps us appreciate our co-dependence and sense of community.

"We've enjoyed reviving this traditional community activity and hope more local people will join us next year to help look after the trees and enjoy all this delicious fruit."

Transition Northwich rent their press out very cheaply to other groups and individuals and hope to take it into local schools again next year.

Anthony Powell, who oversees the press, said: "Apple and pear trees produce an abundance of fruit in autumn.

"While many will store, seeing us through into the new year, there’s a lot of fruit that needs processing quickly, including windfalls, bruised and damaged fruit, and varieties with short shelf lives.

"Juicing is one option, giving us the choice of fresh juice or cider.

"I’m always amazed at how wonderful the juice tastes and it's packed very nutritious."

He went on to explain how to press the apples: "The process involves cleaning the apples, cutting them in quarters and removing the bad bits, mincing them in the 'scratter' then pressing the juice out.

"The residue can be cooked with, if the cores have been removed, or used as garden mulch or animal feed so nothing is wasted."

To ensure the juice is safe and stores well it should be pasteurised, a simple process of heating.

Transition Northwich are also cider making this year and members of the group have been making vegan mincemeat and chutneys to share later in the year.

The Transition Northwich website offers lots of information about the group, their local projects and a link to booking the press: https://transitionnorthwich.weebly.com/