MARLBOROUGH heralded its first Apple Day with a collection of Wiltshire varieties.

Organiser Philippa Davenport said there were occasions when the hall and the adjacent St Mary’s Church, where some events took place, were both packed on Saturday.

Cookery writer Ms Davenport, who heads the Marlborough Community Orchard group that organises the apple days and has been busy planting apple trees around the town, said the event had been, in her words “a tree-mendous success”.

The orchard committee is building up a map of gardens with apple trees in the Marlborough area and Ms Davenport has successfully tracked down old Wiltshire varieties of apple.

She said: “These old varieties have been overlooked and largely forgotten for too long but they are making a big comeback thanks to enthusiasm and inspiration from the Marlborough Apple Day and community orchard team.”

Saturday saw a rare display and opportunity for tasting 10 varieties of local apples.

“Visitors could see, smell and sample for themselves the special qualities of each sort,” said Ms Davenport, who added that some of the older visitors could remember the varieties from their youth.

Outside the hall, a team led by Richard Paget from Little Bedwyn chopped and pressed apples which people had taken along to be turned into apple juice or cider.

In addition to learning about and tasting these Wiltshire heritage fruits, some young apple trees were also on show.

Eight saplings were bought by the orchard committee from Bratton Community Orchard, to give to the winners of an apple photography competition, as part of their prizes.

St John’s School led the winners, who all received heritage fruit trees as their prizes with two students and a teacher topping the table.

First prize in the 16 years and under category went to Emily Rodriguez-Martin from Axford The adult category (over 17) was jointly won by Eleanor Woodley from Chiseldon, a pupil at St John’s, and teacher Jack Gradidge, from Oare.

Highly commended were Nick Barlow, from Burbage, Carolyn Davis from Ogbourne St Andrew, Nicky Foy from Wilton, and Max More, a music teacher at St John’s.