International apple throwing championships mark end of season at Newby Hall

The annual international apple throwing championships will take place at Newby Hall next month.

Staged at the start of British Apple Month, the event marks the end of Newby’s 2023 season and will be held on Sunday 1st October.

Central to the day’s celebrations are the apple throwing championships which will take place between 1-3pm.

Contestants who qualify by throwing three apples to the far side of the River Ure will be invited to take part in the grand finale at 3.30pm, with a chance to win the coveted title and apple trophy.

Head gardener Lawrence Wright and his team have been busy harvesting apples from Newby Hall’s orchard in anticipation of a high turnout for this popular seasonal event.

Lawrence said:

“While this year’s crop isn’t quite the bumper harvest we saw last year, the sunny spring means the apples taste excellent.

“Recent research suggests that apples could be classed as a super food because of the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. So perhaps mum knew best and an apple a day really does help keep the doctor away.”

Among the apple themed activities and new this year is an apple cookery contest.

Visitors with a garden entry ticket are invited to bring along an apple themed culinary creation – anything from pies, crumbles and cakes to chutneys, jellies and beverages – to be judged by the cookery experts at Skelton WI.

The winning entry will be awarded a 2024 season ticket for Newby Hall. Following the apple throwing final, all entries will be auctioned off, with money raised going to the Northern Fruit Group which promotes knowledge of growing fruit in the north, as well as registering heritage fruit varieties and orchards and advising on their care and maintenance.

Newby Hall and Gardens near Ripon.

Other apple themed activities will include apple pressing demonstrations, cider tasting, a display of some of the heritage apple varieties grown in Newby’s orchards and apple growing advice by the Northern Fruit Group. Knaresborough’s Knot Another Choir will serenade visitors from 1pm.

Newby grows 50 varieties of apple in its heritage orchards, regrafting some of the more unusual regional varieties to encourage renewed vigour and resilience.

They have also added 30 Yorkshire varieties to the collection, guided by fruit tree expert Hilary Dodson of the Northern Fruit Group.

This year’s sunny June brought out the natural sugars in the fruit, ensuring the crop reached its full flavoursome potential.

Lawrence added:

“We are delighted to continue to champion British Apples, both for great healthy eating and to support the rich diversity of wildlife on the estate – it’s a fun way for all of our visitors to get involved in the end of our busy 2023 season.”