Community gardeners hope for better year after ancient Wassail danceBy Jennie Slevin
January 16, 2013
Community gardeners hoped taking part in an ancient tradition would bring a good harvest of apples this year.
Volunteers at the Jealott’s Hill Community Landshare held a wassail after last year’s bad harvest for its apple orchard.
Janis Harding, Warfield Parish Council clerk, said: “I usually don’t believe in this sort of stuff but we’ve had such a terrible year we thought we’d do it, every little helps.”
The group, who saluted the orchard by placing toast in the trees’ branches and pouring cider on to the roots, were also joined by the OBJ Morris dancers at the landshare off Wellers Lane on Saturday.
Janis said: “The dancers were great at getting everybody involved in the celebrations.
“We all sang songs and made lots of noise.
“We had about 60 people show up and they all seemed to really enjoy themselves.”
The custom of wassailing started in the west of England when orchard owners would salute in the new year by drinking cider to promote good weather.
The landshare is a six-acre site, run by Bracknell Forest Homes in partnership with Warfield Parish Council, which gives neighbours the opportunity to own an allotment and grow their own food.
Janis added: “It’s such a brilliant amenity we want people to make the most of it.”
The OBJ Morris dancers will be holding their own wassail which will include dancing, singing and an ancient fertility ceremony at The Boot in Park Road at midday on Sunday, January 20. For more information go to www.obj.org.uk.