This great family event was held at Langdyke’s Etton High Meadow – attended by around 100 people.
Traditionally the event involves groups of wassailers drinking lots of alcohol and moving from orchard to orchard – singing, shouting, banging pots and pans and even firing shotguns in an effort to make as much noise as possible to awaken any sleeping tree.
Our event wasn’t anywhere near as riotous – but it proved a fantastic fun afternoon out for the family with dozens of children taking part in the wassailing as well as helping to build a bug house and make bird feeders out of apples.
There was also food, mulled wine and cider for the adults. Entertainment was provided via traditional music by Alan Wood and friends.
The site hosts a number of fruit trees and a recently planted community orchard with more than 70 fruit trees including local heritage varieties such as Lord Burghley and Peasgoods Nonsuch.
The idea of the wassail was to awaken them to bear bountiful crops of fruit next year. Only time will tell if it worked!
Here are some of the images of the day, taken by Langdyke treasurer Brian Lawrence
It is always good to see new developments on our reserves – often as a result of the hard work put in by volunteers to encourage wildlife.
A welcome recent development has been the return of tree sparrows to Swaddywell Pit.
The tree sparrow is a close relative of our house sparrow, but a slightly tidier, prettier bird with a prominent chestnut cap and black cheek spot. At Swaddywell Pit there have been many sightings with up to nine on occasions using the bird feeders by the cabin.
When Langdyke established the reserve in 2005, flocks of more than 130 tree sparrows were recorded, but they had disappeared in recent years, so it is good to see them back.
They seem to have a tendency to population booms and busts, but let’s hope they stay for a while.