NATIONAL Trust properties across the county are welcoming the delights of the autumn with countryside walks and popular events to make the most of seasonal produce.

And at Cliveden, near Maidenhead, something extra special is happening after the ongoing restoration has revealed many secrets including a long-lost fruit garden.

Cliveden's Round Garden was laid out in the mid-19th century but has been out of production since the 1950s. It is possibly the only surviving example of a circular fruit orchard in the UK from this period.

It was highly ornamental with apple, plum, cherry and pear trees growing up and over seven foot high iron hoops. Many of the original 230 hoops still exist and are hoping to be restored.

Cliveden’s senior ranger, Tim Crauford, who is leading a project to restore this unusual feature said: “There would once have been at least 500 trees in this area, as well as soft fruits such as strawberries, redcurrants and blackberries, providing fruit for the whole Cliveden estate.”

On October 22 and 23, visitors can find out more about the project at two special Apple Day events. He said: “We’re in the process of identifying the many varieties of heritage apple still growing in the orchard, most of which were planted over 150 years ago. It’s been a bumper apple crop this year and visitors will be able to munch on some of the 1,200 apples we’ve already picked.

"They’ll definitely be tasting something they would never find in a supermarket.”

There will be guided tours, fruit maintenance demonstrations, apple related food for sale in the café and cider tasting, bee keeping advice, apple pressing, a longest peel competition and tree dressing with ribbons. It runs from 11am-4pm and is free after normal property admission charges.

Organisers are also looking for volunteers to work on the Round Garden. If you enjoy being outdoors, are physically fit and have a passion for nature conservation, you could help with ground clearance, opening up footpaths, inspecting, pruning and restoring existing trees, and planting new ones. You could also meet and greet visitors to the Round Garden and help develop it as an educational resource.

For further information about this and other volunteering opportunities at Cliveden, please call 01628 605069 or email: What else is on at National Trust properties nearby?

There is a 1940s weekend at Hughenden Manor commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Air Ministry taking over the Manor open from 11am-5pm on October 15 and 16. It is a free event and normal admission charges apply. There are also countryside workouts at the manor where people can join the ranger team with activities ranging from scrub clearance to coppicing, to river clearance and nature surveys. The days are on October 15, November 19 and December 17 starting at 10am. Call 01494755573 for further details about where to meet.

At Waddesdon Manor there is an Apple and Autumn Fruits Food Fair on October 15 and 16 starting at 10am-4pm. There will be a weekend full of all things apple, with local produce fair. Taste apples, juices, ciders and home cooked recipes. Refreshments available. Free admission to the food fair. Normal admission charges apply.