THE odd English tradition of wassailing is set to “awaken” apple trees across Herefordshire.

Steeped in history, wassailing is traditionally held on the Twelfth Night after Christmas and performed in orchards to awaken the apple trees from their winter slumber and ward off bad spirits.

The annual ceremony differs from town to village in cider-producing counties.

Here in Herefordshire it involves placing a cider-soaked piece of toast on the branches of an apple tree and sprinkling cider around its roots, before lighting torches, dancing and singing the Wassail Song to ensure there is a good crop of apples for the year ahead.

Here are some of the wassailing events planned for this month. Please let us know if you have details of any others. Email

WESTONS CIDER MILL: The annual wassail at Westons Cider Mill with the Silurian Morris will be held on Saturday, January 4. Enjoy this rural tradition as the morris men bless the apple trees to ensure a good cider harvest in 2020.

Meet at the Westons car park from 6.30pm onwards. Dancing from 7pm followed by a torchlight procession into the ancient cider orchards from 7.30pm. No ticket required for the event, but all proceeds raised on the night will go to St Michael's Hospice in Hereford.

Warming mulled cider and refreshments will be available before the dancing. A wassail supper will be served in the Scrumpy House Restaurant afterwards. For bookings and enquiries email

LEOMINSTER WASSAIL: Saturday, January 11. Meet in Corn Square at 11am. Join the Jenny Pipes Morris as they proceed down to the community Orchard below the Priory Church and playground. Join in the wassail ceremony to ensure a fruitful future harvest for the apple trees. All welcome, including musicians and singers. Organised by the Friends of Grange Court and Gardens. Grange Court cafe will be open for lunch/refreshments afterwards. More information from 01568 610955/720226

THE CROWN AT WOOLHOPE: With the fires being lit at 5pm on Saturday, January 11, a torch procession will follow at 6pm. There will be refreshments available and donations will be collected for St Michael’s Hospice.

COLWALL WASSAIL: Gather at Colwall Village Garden from 5.30pm on Saturday, January 18. Lighting up at 5.50pm for the torch-lit procession around the orchard at 6pm. There will be a wassailing ceremony in the orchard, followed by singing around the bonfire. Adults £3 entry fee, children free. Wear silly hats, warm clothes and wellies, and bring pots and pans, or whistles to help drive the evil spirits away!

TILLINGTON: Leominster Morris Wassail and Mummers Play. Meet at the Bell from 6.30pm on Monday, January 6. Torch-lit procession to a nearby orchard at 7pm. Wassail ceremony, ring of fires and morris dancing in the orchard, then back to the Bell for the mummers play. After this, music and singing in the pub until closing time.

OLDFIELDS CIDER (TENBURY WELLS) WASSAIL: Doors open at 6pm on Saturday, January 11. The orchard blessing will be at 7pm.