Wassailing ‘wakes up’ the trees

The ceremony designed to 'wake up' the trees
The ceremony designed to 'wake up' the trees

MORE than 100 people turned up to help ‘wake up’ the trees at Steyning Community Orchard.

The ancient custom of wassailing, waking up the fruit trees after their winter sleep and preparing them for a fruitful harvest, was led by Mythago Morris.

Some of the gathering of about 100 people

Some of the gathering of about 100 people

Simon Zec, from the orchard team, said it had been a great night.

The morris dancers headed the procession up Memorial Playing Field in Steyning to the orchard at the top and carried out a circle dance around the cherry tree.

People took along a variety of items to make a loud noise as part of the wassailing.

A social evening with entertainment followed at Steyning Cricket Club.

On Saturday, three new trees will be planted. Residents young and old are invited to the event, from 11.30am to 12.30pm. The project team are particularly keen to have children involved in the planting.

Susie Acton will plant an Egremont Russet tree in memory of her father, Lewis Wood, who owned the original orchard.

This variety dates back to 1872 and originated on the Petworth Estate.

The other two trees to be planted will be a Bossom and a Knobby Russet.