Apple trees blessed with toast and cider at St Ives wassail

wassail st ives
Mulled toast is hung on the trees

Hundreds have gathered in St Ives for the annual wassail held at the town's community orchard.

The traditional ceremony goes back hundreds of years and uses song, music and dance to usher in the spring.

In a noisy and lively ritual people shake out the last of the darkness from within the trees and bring them out of their winter slumber, before wishing them a healthy and fruitful season ahead.

Performers dressed in traditional Cornish 'oss' costumes dance around the trees Credit: ITV News

Members of the community take it in turns to hang toast soaked in mulled cider onto the orchard's many apple trees.

The ceremony also involves performers in traditional costumes weaving through the orchard to chants of ''wassail'', led by the 'Green Man' Neil Scott.

Neil told ITV News: “It's also waking up the community after a long, dark, stormy winter. So it's bringing people together to say that the last of the winter is going. We're now into springtime. It's about the community, it's about this time of year, and it's about us all leaving the orchard with a little bit of essence of where we belong.”

The event has been held in the town for the last 10 years. Members of Penzance based Raffidy Dumitz Band were invited along to play the processional music, and often perform at traditional wassails across Cornwall.

Members of the Raffidy Dumitz Band Credit: ITV News

Band member Judith Lawrence said: “It brings the community together and that's so lovely. Everybody can join in. There's no hierarchy, it's just turn up and join in and have fun.“

St Ives Community Orchard covers 30 acres of land including an orchard, vegetable gardens, a new woodland, a wildlife reserve and a network of paths on Penbeagle Hill overlooking St Ives.