Wassail - a toast to cider
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Join TJ for a short, bracing walk to start the new year followed by your chance to help cider drinkers everywhere into 2021 and beyond by taking part in a traditional wassail!
Starting near the village of Much Marcle, we will climb to the top of Ridge Hill. This excellent vantage point gives beautiful views over rural Herefordshire and the Wye valley as well as back across to Ledbury nestled at the base of the Malvern Hills to the east. The path then takes us back down through the peaceful countryside, through cider orchards and back to our start point.
As darkness falls at around 4.30pm we'll head to the pub for some dinner (and no doubt a drink). It's then back out in the cold at 7.00pm to do our bit for cider drinkers by taking part in the local wassail. This ancient tradition is meant to bless the orchards, ward off evil spirits and ensure a good apple harvest in the new year. Expect fire, morris men and of course cider!
Getting there & parking
Parking at our start point is free.
There are limited bus links - I'd recommend instead getting the train to Ledbury or Gloucester and putting a message in the comments section below to ask for a lift. Please bear in mind the late finish time of this event if coming by public transport.
3 photos of fire with kind permission from Dale Martin (dmphotos.com)
What to bring
Dress warmly - several thinner layers are better than few thick ones. It could be very cold after sunset. You'll also find a torch useful.
Water: bring at least two litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking, trainers are OK if the ground is dry and there’s little chance of rain
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Food & drink
Bring something to drink and perhaps a snack for the afternoon.
We'll be having an early dinner afterwards at the Walwyn Arms - you can find the menu here.