Ancient tradition will ‘wake up’ orchard trees

Planting the yew tree at Steyning Community Orchard on Apple Day in October

Planting the yew tree at Steyning Community Orchard on Apple Day in October

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STEYNING Community Orchard is following an ancient tradition, toasting the health of trees.

Mythago Morris will be wassailing on Saturday, January 31, from 6.30pm until late, a custom that is said to wake up the fruit trees after their winter sleep and prepare them for a fruitful harvest.

Meet at Steyning Cricket Club to form a procession up Memorial Playing Field to the orchard site.

Bob Platt said: “We are asking people to bring something to make a loud noise, like football rattles, saucepans and wooden spoons or drums.

“Sturdy boots would be a good idea and torches essential. Afterwards, we will have a social drink at the cricket club. All ages will be welcome.”

Tickets are £2 from Steyning Bookshop and numbers are limited to 70.

One new tree, a golden pippen, was planted in October and three more will be added next month, all traditional Sussex varieties.

Susie Acton has donated an egremont russet apple tree, which she will plant on February 21 in memory of her father, Lewis Wood, who was the butcher in High Street and planted the original orchard.

The Carpenter Box Trust has made a donation towards the other trees and it is hoped children will get involved on the day.