The Black Hand Cyder Society
Welcome to the Denton Blackhand Cyder Society section of the Denton website. Here you can find out everything about the society, from how it began to our current activities.
The society has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2001. A regular programme of activities has now become established with monthly meetings throughout the year where the various stages of cyder production are performed and the results sampled.
In addition at least one major cyder-based social event is held each year to which members are encouraged to bring guests. These are:
- The Wassailing – held in January, and/or
- The Cyderfest – held in July or August.
But the most important time of year is the early autumn when apples are gathered and the Society’s chopping and pressing equipment used (as pictured above) to produce the apple juice ready for fermentation.
Membership of the Society now stands at more than 50 families. It is in good financial health and has a growing store of cyder to keep, see how it matures and enjoy.
New members are always welcome. Please contact: Adrian Hipwell, 788188.
The Pressing Weekend
The season starts at the begining of October when foraging parties are sent out to bring in the crop of apples. A competitive spirit is introduced by splitting the membership into three teams and awarding a trophy (see right) to the team that brings in the highest tonnage. A remarkable number of local people have surplus apples available.
This job must be completed before pressing itself starts. The apples are first chopped up in the mill and then passed though the press in batches. This is all very labour intensive but members join in knowing that it is a social event as well as good exercise. Appropriate refreshment is provided. A long Friday evening and a full Saturday are normally required to complete this work.
In 2010 a record 685 gallons of juice were pressed. In 2015 the figure was 223 gallons. The average over the fourteen years of the Society's operations has been around 410 gallons. Full details appear on the Society's History Page.
Throughout the year regular, normally monthly, meetings are held. In the winter these are mainly work-orientated with racking and bottling sessions though suitable food and drink is provided to reward the workers. During summer months the Society transforms itself, courtesy of the Godsmark family, into the Mill Farm Boules Club. The game, boules (or petanque), is played, a barbecue is lit (and used on a self-help basis) and suitable quantities of cyder consumed.
This ancient festival, traditionally celebrated in the West Country on the 17th January, is all about encouraging the appropriate gods, spirits etc. to make sure that there will be a good apple crop that year. The BHCS version of the ceremony includes suitable incantations, tree blessings and a village maiden is required to ensure the authenticity of the proceedings. A hog-roast is enjoyed and a good ceilidh band makes sure that, whatever the temperature outside, members and their guests can keep themselves warm.
The Cyder Fest
This event is centred round the tasting of all the cyders produced during the year including those “developed” by individual members with a prize for the best one. The village marquees are pressed into service and, once again, a hog-roast and a band make the evening go with a swing.
Dates For 2016/17
- Boules Night - Thursday 5th May.
- Boules Night - Thursday 2nd June.
- Boules Night - Thursday 7th July.
- Cyder Fest - Saturday 23rd July.
Cyder Fest 2016
7.30pm till late on 23rd July at Hilary’s - Walnut Tree Farm Meadow.
Cyder, cocktails, hog spit roast, tasting table and music to dance to.
- Boules Night - Thursday 4th August - Championships.
- Boules Night - Thursday 1st September.
- Club Night - Thursday 6th October.
- Foraging - Saturday 8th October.
- Pressing - Saturday 22nd October.
- Club Night & AGM - Thursday 3rd November.
- Wassailing - Thursday 19th January.
- Club Night - Thursday 2nd February.
- Club Night - Thursday 2nd March.
- Barn Dance - Saturday 22nd April.
Further details of all these activities from: Adrian Hipwell, 788188.
The Club has its own range of suitably "motifed" clothing available for purchase. This can be ordered via the Retro Alley Website.
The Society's Constitution
The current constitution and rules are available on Separate Page.
The History of the Society
Much more detail on the history of the society and its activities is available on the Society's History Page.