Annual Wassail celebration takes place in Hartley Wintney

Basingstoke Gazette: Villagers enjoy the annual wassail celebration in Hartley Wintney Buy this photo » Villagers enjoy the annual wassail celebration in Hartley Wintney

VILLAGERS in Hartley Wintney did their bit to ensure a good apple harvest by taking part in an ancient tradition.

More than 150 people turned up for the village’s annual Wassail night, which began and ended at The Waggon and Horses pub, in London Road.

Members of the Hook Eagle Morris Men danced outside the pub while villagers carrying flaming torches gathered around.

The group then walked to the Vaughan Millennium Orchard, in Hunts Common, where Hartley Wintney Parish Council gave out drinks of cider and apple juice.

After more dancing in the orchard, the group made their way back to the pub for the presentation of the Wassail cup.

The event had been postponed a week due to the heavy rain and strong winds which brought flooding to parts of the village.

John Ellis, foreman for the dancing group, said: “The orchard was remarkably dry, a good crowd from Hartley Wintney turned out and it was one of the best wassails we have done there.”

The morris men have began training for this year’s programme of events, and are looking for new recruits. Anybody who wants to get involved can call Mr Ellis on 07900 886855.

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