AN ANNUAL celebration of Herefordshire's cider industry has been cancelled due to coronavirus safety concerns.

The Big Apple has welcomed visitors to the Marcle Ridge for the past thirty years, and this year's event was set to take place on October 10 and 11.

The community organisation behind the Big Apple had come up with a programme and a delivery plan designed to keep the event within Covid-19 secure guidelines, but the latest changes proved a step too far.

“We have been outrun by the virus”, said spokesman Jackie Denman.

“We would like to thank the Public Health team at Herefordshire Council for their advice and support – they really tried to help us make it happen. In the end, the decision to cancel was our own. The timing just wasn’t right.”

This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards, to see, hear and smell cider being made and to taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar for many people.

Apple growers and cider makers depend heavily on events for sales of their produce, and almost all had already been cancelled.

“We tried so hard to keep the Big Apple going, especially because we were almost the only apple event that was still in this year’s calendar. We have put a special area on our website here with information about the producers that would have been there, and some ways to get hold of their produce,” Jackie said.

Many familiar Big Apple vendors are there, including Gregg’s Pit, Woodredding, Lyne Down, Pope’s Perry, Westons, Dragon Orchard and Jus Apple Juice.

The Big Apple has started to plan its events for 2021, including Blossomtime on May 2 and 3 and Harvestime on October 9 and 10.