This is why they will be pouring cider over tree roots this Sunday in Leighton Buzzard

No Caption ABCDE PNL-181201-095849001
No Caption ABCDE PNL-181201-095849001

The third traditional mid-winter Wassailing Ceremony will take place in the Astral Park Community Orchard, Leighton Buzzard on Sunday (January 14).

There will be live music, singing, food, mulled cider and the traditional Wassail Ceremony.

This historic English tradition is performed in many orchards, old and new, throughout the country with the intention of ensuring a good crop of apples for the next year’s harvest.

It will start with singing some traditional wassail songs along with music by local folk group The Ouzel Valley Ranters. Followed by the Wassail Ceremony, where cider is poured over the roots of the trees and toast soaked in mulled cider placed on the branches of the apple trees. The trees are then woken from their winter slumber by banging the ground with sticks and making a lot of noise (stones in tin cans is good for this!!)

Come along in colourful clothes and banish the Winter blues and look forward to Spring!! This great FREE event for all the family starts at 1.30pm to 3pm at the orchard, which is at the end of Middleton Way, across the field from Astral Park Community Centre LU7 4AY.

Roy Walker, Orchard Leader for South Beds Friends of the Earth, said: “The Wassail tradition reflects how important fruit growing has been for centuries and by planting a new orchard with local heritage trees we are reviving an interest in locally grown fruit, conserving local varieties, and providing a refuge for wildlife.

“The Orchard was conceived and planted by South Beds Friends of the Earth in December 2011 and is maintained by them with the help of volunteers from local residents.

“The Orchard’s trees are mainly local heritage varieties including some first cultivated by Laxtons of Bedford in the early 1900s and the Alyesbury Prune, a damson, which was extensively grown in orchards around Totternhoe and Eaton Bray for the jam making industry. The skins were used to dye RAF uniforms during WW2 and cloth for the Luton hat trade.”

More information about the orchard are available on Facebook - Astral Park Community Orchard.