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Granville House, Bell Busk

Granville House.jpg
Granville House.jpg

Cider making at Bell Busk

A sleepy hamlet on the boundary of the National Park has its own fledgling apple pressing venture which is enjoying a taste of success.

Granville House at Bell Busk, near Malham, is a seventeenth century former farm that, appropriately enough, was at one stage a hostelry. Today it’s where people come to cooperate in making cider and apple juice.

Apples are picked by local people and left to stand outside to be washed by the rain and allow natural yeast to develop. In November they gather to cut the apples, feed them into a hopper and crush them in an apple press bought from an ageing Italian community. In 2016, they produced 15 litres of juice ready to drink and 51 litres which were left until February 2017 to become cider.

TV renovation project

The communal operation is overseen by Jeanne Hine who lived for a time as a self-sufficient farmer in Normandy where she learned to make cider, a local speciality. Jeanne and her husband bought Granville House in 2010, a year after it had featured as a renovation project in television’s Escape to the Country.

Under her inspired supervision, Granville House has been transformed into a stunning three-bedroom country house with an attached three-bedroom former barn, which she runs as a luxury self-catering holiday cottage with a four-poster bed and many architectural antiques.

“We started letting the cottage four years ago using a lettings agency that told us we could expect to let it for the equivalent of 12 weeks a year,” said Jeanne.  “We took over its management ourselves and now it is let for the equivalent of 36 weeks a year.”

Slice of Yorkshire heaven

Guests are attracted by the wildflower meadow, where ox-eye daisies, red campions, native bluebells, native daffodils, poppies and corn cockles thrive, by the garden with its rainbow borders, the orchard, newly planted native woodland, the dark sky and by views of the glorious dales countryside and the occasional steam train heading for the Settle-Carlisle line.

The success of the business can be judged by comments in the visitors’ book. “A slice of Yorkshire heaven”, “felt like home the moment we stepped inside” and “the best ever”. Now, that’s worth raising a glass to.

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