THE uniquely English tradition of wassailing has “awakened” the apple trees across Herefordshire.

The Leominster Morris’ Twelfth Night wassail took place in Eardisley last Friday with morris dancers and mummers gathering at the Tram Inn to enjoy an age-old country tradition and a few pints of cider.

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 ciderproducing 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 cider apples for the year ahead.