Traditional cider-soaked ceremony took place at Ostlers Cider Mill on Saturday evening.

The wassailing at Ostlers Cider Mill. Pic: Barbara Fryer.The wassailing at Ostlers Cider Mill. Pic: Barbara Fryer.

A NORTH Devon apple orchard was traditionally ‘blessed’ during a cider-soaked ritual on Saturday evening.

Ostlers Cider Mill near Goodleigh hosted the traditional wassail, which is designed to encourage a good harvest and drive off bad spirits from the orchard.

Wassailing ‘king’ Ray Thorne poured cider on the tree roots to encourage fertility, and hung cider-soaked toast from the tree branches as gifts to the tree spirits.

Music was provided by Dead Plants and the Morris dancing group Borderline while everyone sang to the health of the trees.

The ground was banged with the wassailing stick, and shots fired to frighten away evil spirits before more songs were sung, cider drunk and a feat enjoyed by all.

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