AS THE New Year looms, locals are preparing for a busy wassail season.

Steeped in hundreds of years of folklore and history, wassailing is traditionally performed in cider orchards to awaken the apple trees from their winter slumber and ward off bad spirits.

The yearly ritual differs from town to village in cider-producing counties.

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


Here’s a list of some of the wassails planned for January 2024.


The Leominster Morris will be holding their annual wassail on January 6 at the Crown Inn in Dilwyn. The festivities will begin at 7 pm, with the dancers leading locals into a nearby orchard to perform their ceremony before returning to the pub for a traditional mummers play, songs and folk tunes.

This is a ticketed event but has already sold out.

Much Marcle

Once again, the Silurian Border Morris Men will be wassailing the Westons Cider orchards to raise money for St Michael Hospice on January 6. There will be dancing at 7 pm followed by a torchlight procession into ancient cider orchards. After the ritual, there will be food, music and mumming at the visitors centre.

This is a ticketed event, with tickets available for £10 at


The team behind the Monkland Arms will be hosting an evening of wassailing and ceilidh dancing at Monkland Village Hall on January 12. Locals must arrive by 7 pm to witness the wassail, with the ceilidh kicking off at 8 pm. Supper will be provided and its likely that Foxwhelp morris will make an appearance.

This is a ticketed event, with tickets available for £10 by contacting, or by calling 01568720510 or 07787154308


The Hereford-based Gidderskins morris dancers invite locals to join them at 7 pm on January 13 at the Yewtree Inn. They will dance at the pub at 7 pm before processing to a nearby orchard for the wassail. They shall then return to the pub for an evening of music, food and drink.

This event is not ticketed, entry is free.


Blackthorn Ritualistic Folk will be bringing their distinctive, dark style to Newton Court, near Leominster. Gates will open at 5 pm on January 20, with the wassail beginning at 6 pm. Visitors can expect an evening full of music, songs, firelit processions and Mari Lwyds. Food and drink will be available at the ‘Chaple of Apple’.

This event is ticketed but has already sold out.