Revellers braved the elements on Wednesday evening (17th January 2018) for the annual Wassail Ceremony held in Thatchers Cider’s orchards at Myrtle Farm and hosted at The Railway Inn, Sandford.

The Wassail is a traditional ceremony that sees apple trees blessed with cider and awoken from their winter slumber, ensuring a good harvest for the year ahead. Led by The Green Man and the Mendip Morrismen, the weird and wonderful celebrations include hanging cider-soaked toast in the branches of the Wassail tree, pouring cider onto the tree’s roots, and firing shotguns into the upper branches to scare away the evil spirits. That’s accompanied by singing, dancing and of course, mulled cider.

This year’s Wassail Queen was Olivia Damerell.

Martin Thatcher, fourth generation of the Somerset cidermaking family, is keen to keep traditions such as Wassailing alive, he says, “The Wassail is a great tradition which reminds us that orchards and cider have been a part of West Country life for hundreds of years.

“Despite the rain, everyone had a fun-filled evening, and warmed up with a delicious supper in the Railway Inn to round off the celebrations.”