In 1850, William Bennett moved from Compton Dundon to Chestnut Farm, Edithmead. There he and his family started farming and began on a journey that would lead to the Bennett's becoming one of the oldest farmhouse cider makers in Somerset. 6 generations and thousands of apples later, traditional Somerset cider is still being made at Chestnut Farm by the Bennett family.
William's great grandson Tom Bennett was born in 1920, and it was under his management that the cider really took off. Tom removed the old fashioned mill consisting of two 18” granite mill stones and replaced with a more modern electric mill. He also removed the old screw press and installed a hydraulic press. The new press was made by The Hydraulic Press Co of Ohio, USA.
In the 1960s Tom used to supply cider to 10 local pubs owned by Holt bros brewery, however when that was bought out by Taunton cider, the orders stopped coming in and production slowed down.
Tom's son Viv was born in 1951 and soon took an interest in the cider. He took over in later life with his dad helping. Viv planted apple trees in 1978, 1982, and 1985, to commemorate the birth of his three children respectively.
In the 70s, 80s, and 90s under Tom and Viv's management, they entered every local cider competition, and between them they have won Champion, Reserve Champion, firsts, seconds, and thirds in every local cider show you can care to mention.
Viv's youngest son Duncan was born in 1985 and between them and the rest of the family cider production has continued, and when his dad passed away in October 2019, Duncan took over the reins.
Although Viv's enthusiasm for entering cider competitions waned in later life, Duncan and his wife Catherine plan to continue with the cider production, return to entering local competitions, and to keep Bennett's Cider going as one of the oldest cider producers in Somerset, which has gone largely unchanged since William Bennett began 170 years ago.