In 1997 we brought our first home in Colnbrook and soon found out the garden was part or Richard Cox’s original orchard. Richard Cox was an horticulturalist who bred the apple varieties Cox’s Orange Pippin and Cox’s Pomona in Colnbrook Buckinghamshire (now Berkshire).
Whilst these few big old apple trees looked lovely and had lots of history every year the apples fell and made a mess, as there were only so many apple pies you could make. So we decided to do something with the apples, we started making apple juice and then progressed to cider, in the early days some of this was not drinkable But we soon learnt about tannin’s, sharpness and sweetness and looked to source cider apples from Somerset from an old orchard, these made a pretty decent cider.
We toured the West Country and visited many cider makers and talked to them about what varieties they used in their cider and through sampling the different ciders we choose what variety’s we would use ourselves. We also talked to experts Liz Copas & John Worle, where we gained a wealth of knowledge, which enabled us with much research to look at what trees we would like to plant.
We looked to purchase an established orchard but found that the trees planted in most old orchards were not what we wanted for our cider blend and orchards for sale were few and far between. We started purchasing trees and also rootstock which we bud grafted our selected varieties onto using scion wood sourced from places like Cotehele and Cornish orchards. We started buying trees and filling up our garden with hundreds of apple trees planted in pots, to start the process of growing our trees to be eventually planted in the orchard.
We had family in Cornwall so we began our search there and found a great spot on the Porthtowan side of Nancekuke and set in a small sheltered valley and started planting the orchard in 2014.
In 2016 we sold our cottage in Colnbrook and decided to use the proceeds to build a barn and purchase the cider making equipment and named the business Cuckoo Valley from a suggestion of one of our new neighbors as they were told by an old Cornwall Councilor friend that Nancekuke in Cornish means (nance – Valley and kuke – Cuckoo) and although we have since heard other translations we liked the name. Year on year we have carried on planting more trees and have over 1000 apple and perry pear trees so far, with over 40 different variety’s of trees at present these include the Cornish Gilly Flower, Tommy Knight, Pigs Snout, King John Broad to name a few.
We believe in making craft ciders as naturally and as simply as possible, using the best cider apples and pressing them in small batches. From 100% juice fermented by wild yeasts, producing ciders that are full of depth and flavour and quite simply good traditional cider.