in January 2022 EPICH organised the first orchard Wassail in partnership with the Hurworth Communty Association, in order to contribute to the delivery of the orchard management plan adopted in 2021, by
- Improving public general knowledge about the Community Heritage Orchard
- Increasing understanding of the orchard, and its management regime, as a community resource
- Building interest in the orchard and the wider wildlife resources of The Grange
- Providing an opportunity to bring people together for fun in the context of the outside environment
The term wassail derives from the Old Norse ‘ves heill,’ which translates to 'be healthy.’ The apple wassail, most common in the traditional cider-producing regions of Britain, sees communities gather in orchards and gardens to bless the fruit trees for the year ahead. Traditionally it would take place on Old Twelfth Night (17th January), but now wassails can be found between late December – February.
The wassail in 2022 brought over 100 people to hange toast in the trees to tempt the birds in and keep the pests down, make a lot of noise to frighten away any evil spirits, and sing wassail songs to wish the trees good health.