Saturday, January 15, 2011

It’s Only Natural

Wassailing ceremony at the Railway Orchard in Dorchester

By Harry Hogger (Dorset Echo 31/01/2011)

A CELEBRATION of nature will be taking place in Dorchester this weekend.

Transition Town Dorchester is holding a traditional wassailing ceremony at its new Railway Orchard off Monmouth Road on Sunday at 3.30pm.

The custom of wassailing is an age-old tradition aimed at encouraging trees to produce a good crop.

People will gather around the largest tree and cider will be poured on to the roots of the tree.

Pieces of toast or cake soaked in cider will also be put on the branches for robins – the ‘guardian spirits’ of the trees.

The wassailers will then fill cups with cider or apple juice and drink a toast to the tree before beating saucepans to drive away evil spirits.

Transition Town (TT) Dorchester’s community orchard group took over the Railway Orchard site from Network Rail last year and have been holding work days to clear up the area ready for planting.

The idea is to show how plots of land can help meet the town’s need for food while at the same time bring the community together.

The spokesman for Transition Town Dorchester, Jenny Shackleford said: “It is a fun way of making Dorchester a stronger and more resilient place, and make it ready to face the price rises and shortages that will surely come.

“We know that fossil fuels will get increasingly scarce in the future and that will put food supplies at risk.”

Everyone is welcome to join in the wassail, with access to the orchard from the Culliford Road end of Monmouth Road.

Residents are also encouraged to get involved with the project.

Call Jenny on 07760 313305 or send an email to info@

Published by | Community Orchard, What the Papers Say

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