Somerset cider farmers gear up for wassailing

Hearty supporters of the Westcroft Cider Farm wassail in 2012.

Hearty supporters of the Westcroft Cider Farm wassail in 2012.

First published in News

CIDER farm workers across the area are preparing to carry out the traditional wassail ceremony.

West Croft Farm in Brent Knoll, Rich’s Cider in Highbridge, and Millwhites Cider in Rooksbridge are all holding wassailing events in the next two weeks.

The wassail is an ancient West-country tradition where people drive away the evil spirits from their orchards to ensure a good harvest.

Traditionally, the event has a wassail queen who is carried around the orchard, placing pieces of toast dipped in cider on the trees.

The crowd will then sing at the trees and men with guns shoot in the air scare away the evil spirits.

Food, such as meat and cheese, and local cider from the farm will be available during the festivities.

Madge Burmam from Rich’s Cider Farm said: “I sell the tickets in the shop and the event gets bigger every year. There were about 400 people last year.

“The more people hear about it and show up, the more word of mouth goes around which gets more to come the following year.”

Rich’s Cider will be holding their wassail on Saturday at Mill Farm, Highbridge.

Tickets cost £7.50, with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Unit Support Trust, from www.richscider.co.uk West Croft Cider is holding its wassail at West Croft Farm in Brent Knoll on Saturday, January 18.

The event starts at 7pm and tickets sell out every year so book in advance with West Croft at 01278-760762.

Finally, Millwhites Cider is holding its annual wassail at the Orchard Barns in Rooksbridge on Saturday, January 18.

The event starts at 7.30pm and admission is free for everyone so all you need to do is turn up.

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