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  • Alice Briggs

Apple pressing at Devil's Bridge Ymylon y Rheidol / Verges of the Rheidol

Recently I linked an annual community apple pressing event to the Verges project. The event, which was set up by a neighbour in October half term in order to use waste and excess apples within the Rheidol valley by locals, residents and the wider community has now moved up to the outskirts of Devil’s Bridge after the neighbour moved in the summer. Around a dozen community members came together with our surplus apples; essentially the event is a community and social gathering, to talk and gossip over the process of making apple juice.

This year, I was interested in specific questions which would feed into the project ideas of the Verges of the Rheidol - namely looking at learning, belonging and growing.

Dysgu, Casglu, Perthyn

The conversation naturally led to some nostalgia of the loss of these events over the last couple of years due to the covid pandemic, and how valuable it is for the residents to come together with an activity to work on, to use the hands and particularly to eat together at the end of the process. Christiane had made some amazing apple pie which we were rewarded with at the end of the apple pressing, offering chance for everyone to catch up and also to share recipes for apple cider, cider vinegar and talk about other ways we might look at using food surplus and waste that comes from the valley, hedgerows and land around us.

It’s been a difficult time for community groups during the pandemic and the Cwm Rheidol Community Group haven’t met in person since pre March 2020. In usual times they use Statkraft Visitor Centre as their main base for community talks and workshops, cheese and wine evenings, and coffee mornings with the children. There is a strong intergenerational element to the group which hosts an annual Christmas party for children where the valley elders come alongside the valleys children to meet Santa, eat and sing carols.

The valley has several households with new residents that have arrived during the pandemic, with little opportunity to meet and welcome new people to the community the way that has happened previously through these events.

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