The traditional Wassailing (blessing) of the apple trees to give a good harvest took place on the Holly Bush’s Thistlefield Orchard on Sunday 14th January 2024.
The attendees, over 50 of them, braved a bitterly cold day. After gathering at the Holly Bush, they departed at 15.00hrs and moved to the nearby Thistlefield Orchard to celebrate. There they were met by Holly Bush landlord Chris Wilabraham and served mulled cider made from last years’ crop of apples. A couple of stories were read out, a song sung and then much bashing and crashing of implements. The group then returned to the Holly Bush for a music session.
The Wassailing has become quite an event and has been going for some time, as the picture below from the 2020 wassail shows.
The first apple trees in the orchard were planted 18 years ago and waves have been planted since then. Some of the trees have become quite mature, and last year produced a bumper harvest for the Holly Bush of over 6 tons of apples. These in turn were turned into over 1000 pints of Holly Bush cider. Recently bee hives have also been set up in the orchard, and as well as pollinating the apple blossom, the bees produce honey which has been sold to brewers by the Holly Bush to make honey beer.