ONE of Herefordshire's strangest customs will return to an orchard near Hereford this evening (Thursday).

Families and cider drinkers have been invited to join a wassail in Tillington.

The ceremony dates to Pagan times and involves greeting an apple tree on the twelfth night to promote a good harvest.

Participants often sprinkle cider around a tree, hang toast from its branches and light fires nearby to ward-off evil spirits.

The Tillington ceremony starts with a torchlit procession from the Bell Inn at 7pm and has been organised by the Leominster Morris.

The group holds wassails in a different orchard each year, with hundreds attending previous events in Dilwyn and Weobley.

Wassailers can also have some flaming good fun at orchards near Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye this Saturday (Jan 8).

The Silurian Border Morris will lead a torchlight procession from the Slip Inn, Much Marcle from 7pm, while hundreds are expected at Broome Farm, Peterstow, around the same time.