WassailSituated behind Stonehill Barn is the Old Orchard. Although there are not many trees any more, this was once a great orchard, hence the name. Now it is the site of our new duck pond which we opened 2007, and is really starting to mature as the plants take root. In 2008 the Ducks and Geese were moved from their old small enclosure to their new home in the Orchard. Now they can run freely in their new home.

Many of you will be familiar with the Old Orchard as we open it up for use during our annual Fun Day, and you can often see the sheep or horses and donkey grazing there during the rest of the year. Currently there are only two old pear trees in the orchard which still bear fruit, but new trees are planted and hopefully these will bear fruit in the future.

To give these new trees the best start and to ensure that we continue to harvest fruit from the old pear trees we hold our annual Wassail event, a tradition that has gone on for centuries in Britain. Wassail (from the Old English "Waes Hael" meaning "be well") is a hot spiced punch drink, and every January the fruit trees are 'blessed' by sprinkling them in the juice, placing toast in the tree and making lots of noise! The toast is to attract the Robins who are the guardians of the orchard and the noise is to ward of evil spirits.

Duck pond in the Orchard
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