I wasn't planning another post here for a while, but what turned out to be a fool's errand because we went a year too late to find some hop gardens hidden away in the High Weald.
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Yes, with the poles and wirework cleared and the ground ready for ploughing, it was all a bit sad.

However, having foolishly left the research until after the event, I found this video from a local vlogger with an interest in machinery of all sorts: Hop Harvest Kent 2019.

This illustrates three things for those with an interest in hops and hop picking:
1) It starts with the hop-growers second worst nightmare (after an outbreak of Verticillium Wilt) - an entire crop of hops being brought to the ground by severe weather (which in extremis can result in a full season's work being lost, with drastic financial consequences).
2) Probably the most authentic - if not professionally polished - footage of a hop-picking machine in action; in this case, one produced by Bruff Engineering from Suckley in the heart of the Worcestershire hop yards, reputedly so efficient and well made that the company went out of business because no grower ever needed to buy a second one (and certainly many are still working after 40+ years, holding their second-hand value for those looking to upgrade from something else). With their unmistakable noise and the smell of green hops, finding one of these working is an unforgettable experience.
3) A modern 'industrial oast' in operation, with hops dried in a train of heated bins rather than being moved into and out of kilns manually using 'scuppets'.