MONKS at a North Yorkshire abbey are celebrating a bumper apple crop after years of frustration at the hands of the weather.

The orchards at Ampleforth Abbey, one of the most northerly commercial enterprises of its kind in the UK, suffered because of last year’s early spring being too warm, which left it with one of its worst crops in many years as trees bloomed early and were then ruined when a cold snap struck.

It was also affected by wet weather which prevented bees leaving their hives, meaning blossom was killed or unpollinated, but this year has brought brighter news both for the monks and cider-drinkers.

The prolonged winter weather put apple blossom on hold, and the warm months which followed provided the ideal conditions for the harvest as trees have been laden with fruit.

The abbey’s orchards have more than 40 varieties of trees, with all its cider being produced there, and has won a string of awards.

The trees were originally planted by Benedictine monks who set up the monastery in 1802.