A celebration of cider will take place at this year's Royal Bath and West Show.

Excitement grows as preparations are in full swing for the Orchards and Cider Exhibition.

The event is scheduled to take place between May 30 and June 1.

It has been announced that the centre attraction will be the esteemed British Cider Championships.

With over 450 entrants - the highest number in both the British and potentially European competitions – it truly is the grandest cider competition around.

The 18 different classes within the competition are expected to be fiercely battled over as last year.

The standard of cider has risen once again and is looking to be better than ever thanks to a very good year for cider production in 2023.

With recent uprooting of cider orchards in Herefordshire due to decline in demand for cider fruit from larger manufacturers, the exhibition will attribute great importance to the orchards that the cider comes from.

In contrast, the traditional and craft sectors which are a part of Orchards and Cider, are thriving with new businesses being established yearly.

This year's event will see a change in leadership as Ross Mangles of Northdown Orchard takes over as chief steward from retired master cider-maker Bob Chaplin.

Somerset County Gazette:

Mr Mangles and his father manage 40 acres of cider orchards that were planted by his grandfather in the 1970s for the Taunton Cider Company.

He said: "It is a great honour to have been asked to take over from a living legend in the cider industry like Bob Chaplin.

"We are not planning any dramatic changes, but are looking to build on the foundations laid by Bob and, before him, the late Rupert Best, over the past 24 years."

The People’s Choice will once again feature in the program with show-goers having the chance to sample and judge some of the finest ciders on show.

The South West of England Cidermakers’ Association (SWECA) will run the Cider Bar that will have a wide selection of ciders, perries, and apple juice on offer.

Industry figures will be present at the exhibition for cider tasting sessions that will focus on different elements of cider production.

Bob Chaplin will again conduct his masterclass for both new and established cider makers.

Judging of the British Cider Championships will commence in the morning on the opening day of the show.

The winners will be declared and prizes given away at 3pm on the afternoon of the last day.

Other high points include the lifetime achievement award in the cider industry to be presented at noon on Thursday.

The Worshipful Company of Coopers’ Trophy for Craftsmanship in the Cider Industry will follow on Friday.