Denton a village in South Norfolk, England

The Blackhand Cyder Society

Pressing Day Activity


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 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 normally held each year to which members are encouraged to bring guests. These are:

  • The Wassailing – held in January,
  • and/or
  • The Boules Championship – held in 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 on the right) to produce the apple juice ready for fermentation.
Many more pictures of the equipment in action can be seen on the History Pages.

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.



  • Chair - Adrian Hipwell
  • Secretary - David Godsmark
  • Treasurer - Richard Gedge

Dates For 2023/24

Winter/Spring Schedule

All events are held at Great Green Farm unless otherwise indicated.

  • Saturday 14th October - Foraging Morning - Meet at Great Green Farm at 10.00am.
  • Saturday 28th October - Pressing Morning at Great Green Farm from 10.00am.
  • Thursday 16th November - Work/Social Evening - 7pm.
  • Thursday 14th December - Work/Social Evening - 7pm.
  • Saturday 20th January - Wassailing Evening - 6pm‘til 8pm-ish.
    Essential for a good apple crop in 2024!
    A lot of fun for all ages. Hot dogs will be provided.
    More information appears below.
  • Thursday 15th February - Club Night & AGM - 7.30pm.
  • Thursday 21st March - Club Night - 7.30pm.

Further details of all these activities are available from: Adrian Hipwell, 788188.


The Pressing Weekend

The season starts at the beginning of October when foraging parties are sent out to bring in the crop of apples. Until 2016 a competitive spirit was involved by splitting the membership into three teams and awarding a trophy (see right) to the team that brought in the highest tonnage. This has now been suspended and "co-operative foraging" introduced.
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. Sometimes a long Friday evening and a full Saturday are required to complete this work.
In 2010 a record 685 gallons of juice were pressed. In 2016 the figure was 239 gallons. The average over the twenty years of the Society's operations has been around 400 gallons. Full details appear on the Society's History Page.

Club Nights

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. Further details below.


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.
It seems it was originally linked to Twelfth Night which was always on the 17th before the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752.

The BhCS version of the ceremony includes suitable incantations, tree blessings and a village maiden is required to ensure the authenticity of the proceedings.
Mulled cyder with a hog-roast or other suitable food is enjoyed to make sure that, whatever the temperature outside, members and their guests can keep themselves warm. And a good ceilidh band is sometimes added.

The Wassail Song is sung, enthusiastically -
Here we come a wassailing,
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering,
So fair to be seen.

Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail, too,
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year.

Good Master and good Mistress,
As you sit beside the fire,
Pray thank us poor children
Who wander in the mire

Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail, too,
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year.

Further information about Wassailing can be found on Wikipedia.


Since 2010, when a suitable venue became available, Petanque, or Boules, has provided a wonderful vehicle for the Society's summer gatherings.
Based on the Godsmark's "Bouledrome" in Darrow Green Road, members gather to play the game and enjoy a great barbecue with, of course, suitable quantities of cyder available.

The final such gathering of the summer is slightly more formal as the Club Championships are contested. More information, with details of the winners, can be found on the Boules Page.

The Cyder Fest

This event has been held on several occasions, the last in 2016. It 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.

Club Clothing

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 a 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.

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