Elena and Adrian visited Brandy Wharf in September after hearing about it and having the opportunity after looking at Wrawby Mill. We found our way through a series of minor roads but returned using the A15 and motorway route.
Brandy Wharf lies about 5 miles east from the A15 on the B1205 in Lincolnshire south of Brigg. There is a bridge over the River Ancholme needing its traffic lights, there are boats moored and going past on the straight canalised river, a large building and a pub. The pub does not specialise in brandy but cider.
Unlike New Holland, a place said to be named from activity of smuggling gin, Brandy Wharf was not named from a place to smuggle brandy (well, there may have been smuggling but this is not the origin of the name). It was a Viking area and a group called the Brandes settled (even were stranded) in the area which in fact gave them plenty of resources for food by animals, field crops and orchards. This was a landscape which frequently flooded up to nine feet deep, and Brande's Wharf was a link to the land on the west side. The Roman Road and moreso the earlier parallel road (B1398) runs along a north south ridge.
The flooding came from the Ancholme as was, and it means home of the Anchorites who were religious hermits in monasteries along this winding river. Winghall Priory was built at Brande's Wharf but it declined and was ruined with the dissolution of the monsteries in 1536. There is nothing visible now.
The New River Ancholme was built after an Act of Parliament in 1769. With arable land extended and made particularly fertile, a road was built and industries were generated. A cottage in the orchard in the area was replaced by a tavern for navvies and barge workers. The tavern there now re-established the orchard from 1987 after a long period of decline. Since then it has more than quadrupled in tree numbers and is a main feature of the Brandy Wharf site. There are nature trails and riverside walks close to the tavern.
Brandy Wharf today contains the Cider Centre with a choice of ciders and recommended food (12pm to 2pm; 7pm to 9:30pm but never Tuesdays and not Mondays November to Easter) and this can include "Scrumpy Cider Sausage". The tavern may, on request, open a wall display of photo charts and diagrams about cider making with some cider bottles on display. The previous bottles' display is now at Westons' Cider Centre in Herefordshire with a change of management. Children have to stay outside but can explore the woodland and there are the drinking areas in a green and along the river side (no swimming). A 240 foot stepping stone circle was made was made around a Weeping Ash that gives compass directions, time and folklore dates to mark the Millennium. There is often folk music and morris dancing featured inside and out. The bar is called Apple Foundary, which leads to the outside areas, and the lounge is called Cider Boutique where from 1978 the foot of Cyril the plumber comes through the ceiling to refer to an unfinished job. There is also the Drunkards Corner. The tavern closes at Christmas and New Year.
A note about cider: it is fermented apple juice taken from hopefully cider apples with a high tannin content by pulping and a press, or liquidising and straining, but blending sweet, bitter sweet and sharp apple extracts can make a very acceptable drink. A process of fermenting is required.