The year begins with our traditional Wassail celebration and we welcomed over 200 revellers to join us in chasing away the evil spirits from the orchard and welcoming in the good ones, to ensure a fruitful year and bountiful harvest. We enjoyed some warm sunshine and the orchard and wildlife area looked at their winter best, thanks to efforts of the orchard volunteers in the morning.
Wyld Morris started the proceedings, drawing the crowd into the performance area with their traditional Morris tunes. The Town Crier, in full regalia, announced the start of the Wassail and then it was over to the Master of Ceremonies - outstanding performer, storyteller and fantastic friend of the orchard, Martin Maudsley.
When Martin called “Wassail!” the crowd responded “Drink Hail” several times, in a variety of voices! He crowned and robed the King and Queen, who then chose a special tree to be blessed with cider poured on its roots and cider-soaked bread placed in the branches.
Then the crowd was invited to create a loud hullabaloo – a great noise made by whistles and drums, rattles, shakers and voices to frighten away the evil spirits and attract the good ones ensure a successful year of growing and a magnificent harvest. It seems to have worked so far! Here’s to another successful year – WASSAIL!