A pub near Ledbury is helping to bring back a Herefordshire tradition.

The Slip Tavern in Much Marcle is getting its weekly cider orders via the traditional shire horse and dray delivery.

Shire horse Reg makes the short journey from Westons Cider to The Slip Tavern every Wednesday at 1pm.

And people are being encouraged to come along and watch the traditional deliveries - and meet the star of the show - for themselves.

“The deliveries used to be done in this way and between us and Westons, we are starting it up again,” said The Slip Tavern’s Amy Jade Thompson.

Ledbury Reporter: Young shire horse Buzz. Credit: Amy Jade Thompson/The Slip TavernYoung shire horse Buzz. Credit: Amy Jade Thompson/The Slip Tavern (Image: A shire horse. Credit: Amy Jade Thompson/The Slip Tavern)

“The horses go out to events so this is good practice for them to meet people but still carry on with their job.

“Westons are literally our neighbours so they come down every week whether we need a delivery or not.

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“It’s lovely - everyone who is here having a drink or having a meal tends to go out to meet Reg and see what’s happening. Today a new 15-month-old foal called Buzz came down to us for the first time.

“And not only is it a lovely traditional thing to watch and keep running, with all the rising costs it’s an eco-friendly way of doing things as well.”

Keeping cider traditions alive

Shire horses traditionally played a big role in the production of cider, driving the mill stone to crush apples into a pulp. They were also used to plough the fields as well as distributing the cider to local pubs and train stations.

As modern technology has transformed both farming and the cider production process, horses have become part of the heritage of cider makers like Westons.

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Twelve-year-old Reg, who weighs a whopping 800kg, can generally be found grazing in the field next to Westons’ visitor centre. He can also be booked for weddings, makes appearances at country shows and during the summer takes visitors for rides around the orchards at Westons.

Shire horse and dray deliveries isn’t the only cider making tradition being kept alive in Much Marcle - every year the village hosts a wassail, a luck-bringing custom involving dancing, singing and a torchlit procession.