I kept ponies in the fields behind the old orchard, by kind permission of Reg Smith, the local builder and a friend of ours, who had bought the land as an investment in the mid-70s but had no immediate use for it. I also used the paddock belonging to Manor Farm house from 1978 until 1985, thanks to the kindness of Dr. Hobbs and his family, and the Hyslops from about 1982(?)
In 1979 the old apple store had obviously not been used for many years, and the orchard was very overgrown. There was an old tennis net in the apple store, and the remains of old tennis posts in the grass. There was a line of apple trees along the side of the orchard adjoining the field, still very productive although they hadn't been pruned for many years (to the delight of the ponies in the autumn.) The area was divided in two, along the line of where the driveway now goes, half being the apple orchard + tennis court, (presumably) and the other half an overgrown vegetable garden, with ancient raspberry canes etc. I believe this half belonged to the owners of the house.
It never occurred to me at the time that the building was intended primarily as an apple store - there was no evidence that I recall of any storage facilities for apples - one might have expected racks on the upper floor, for instance. I visualised pre-war tennis parties, taking shelter there from the rain, and gardeners storing their equipment etc. It was in quite good condition then, ie still waterproof and not vandalised.
In 1982 I broke our pony Solo to harness, and we kept our cart in the old orchard. It was too big to go in the apple store but at least it was out of sight. In about 1993, Reg Smith allowed a man I only knew as Digger to keep bullocks in the fields, and he erected cattle stalls etc in the old orchard and used the apple store for feed storage etc. Digger was a real character, a proper 'son of the soil', but when he arrived I just kept my ponies in the paddock belonging to the house and in the other half of the orchard, the old vegetable garden.
I'm really glad you've restored the apple store, and I'd love to come down one day and see what it looks like now. This area was very important to the history of our family when our children were growing up and we were lucky enough to be able to have our ponies there, so I'm glad it looks as if it has been developed in a sympathetic way, with nice-looking houses.
best wishes, Virginia Lee