People are being invited to taste Dorset's 'favourite fruit' at a popular visitor spot this autumn.

Apples are being celebrated by the National Trust team at Hardy's Cottage near Dorchester.

Throughout October and November, visitors are being invited to taste the fruit from Hardy's orchard, have a go at apple pressing and see cooking demonstrations.

The team have been delving into Hardy’s writing, picking out apple references from his stories and poems to share with visitors.

Hardy’s poems are being displayed in the orchard and visitors can have a go at writing their own poem and adding it to a poetry tree in the apple pressing shed.

Rachael Raine, visitor experience officer at Hardy’s Cottage, said: "This autumn we are inviting visitors to have a go at apple pressing and join in our apple-themed festivities.

"Freshly pressed juice is just delicious, and so much tastier than the juice we normally drink from cartons. Each batch tastes slightly different depending on which apples go through the press, and it’s fun to try out different combinations.

"It feels special to be continuing the apple harvest as Hardy and his family would have done each autumn, and then to cook the fruit using traditional recipes that he would have recognised and enjoyed eating in his childhood home."

The Hardys had their own apple orchard and as a boy, Hardy recalls helping his father with the apple harvest and climbing the trees with his sister, Mary.

Hardy’s orchard was largely replanted in the 1970s so it is uncertain whether any of Hardy’s own apple trees remain. Today, there are a mix of varieties including eating apples, cookers and cider apples.

According to an inventory of the orchard in 2009 apple varieties included Lane’s Prince Albert and Newton Wonder, both reliable cookers; a Somerset Russet, and Orleans Reinette, both dessert apples with a very good taste. Also listed is an old Dorset variety, the Warrior, which is rarely found outside the county. This apple can be eaten or cooked but is commonly used for making cider.

The cottage is open seven days a week from 11am until 5pm in October, and from Thursday to Sunday from 11am until 4pm in November.

Apple pressing is scheduled to take place on October 8, 17, 20 and 22, from 1pm to 4pm.

Cookery demonstrations will take place on various dates throughout October and November.