Our regular start to the year – joining in Wassailing the orchard at Hogacre Common.

Wassailing trees in an orchard is an old tradition which is sometimes described as singing the health of trees to encourage them to be productive. Cider is traditionally poured on the roots of a selected tree, and toast hung from its branches. The process, though, does involve making a awful lot of noise to frighten away any evil spirits that may be in the vicinity. In extreme cases, though not at Hogacre, this can include discharging muskets through the branches. Sometimes, indeed, it’s easy to think the ceremony is not so much encouraging trees as threatening them.

We kicked off proceedings with a half hour dance spot outside the pavilion. No spare hands for photographing, though, so you only get to see the scene after dancing as the night drew in.


After dancing as dusk falls.

After spell in the pavilion enjoying the music of local early music band Skeleton Crew, it was outside to the orchard to make some noise.

Skeleton Crew

In the Pavilion – Skeleton Crew.