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In Pictures: Morris dancers take part in ancient wassailing ritual

Morris dancers and singers turned out at the Vaughan Millennium Apple Orchard in Hampshire.

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Members of the Hook Eagle Morris Dancers perform outside the Waggon and Horses pub before heading to the Vaughan Millennium Apple Orchard for a ‘Wassail’ in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Members of the Hook Eagle Morris Dancers perform outside the Waggon and Horses pub before heading to the Vaughan Millennium Apple Orchard for a ‘Wassail’ in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Members of the Hook Eagle Morris Dancers perform outside the Waggon and Horses pub before heading to the Vaughan Millennium Apple Orchard for a ‘Wassail’ in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

An ancient medieval tradition to ensure the good health of trees has been recreated in Hampshire.

Morris dancers and singers turned out at the Vaughan Millennium Apple Orchard in Hartley Wintney for wassailing – which saw the revellers drink hot mulled cider as they toasted the trees to ensure a good apple harvest in the year ahead.

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Morris dancers take part in a traditional Wassail in Hartley Wintney in Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Morris dancers take part in a traditional Wassail in Hartley Wintney in Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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Morris dancers take part in a traditional Wassail in Hartley Wintney in Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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A member of the Hook Eagle Morris Dancers paints his face outside the Waggon and Horses pub (PA)

A member of the Hook Eagle Morris Dancers paints his face outside the Waggon and Horses pub (PA)

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A member of the Hook Eagle Morris Dancers paints his face outside the Waggon and Horses pub (PA)

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Hot cider was the drink of the evening, as it has been for hundreds of years (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Hot cider was the drink of the evening, as it has been for hundreds of years (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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Hot cider was the drink of the evening, as it has been for hundreds of years (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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The Morris Dancers wore traditional regalia (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Morris Dancers wore traditional regalia (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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The Morris Dancers wore traditional regalia (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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Although some of the dancers added a modern touch (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Although some of the dancers added a modern touch (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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Although some of the dancers added a modern touch (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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The troupe wore hats decorated with pheasant feathers (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The troupe wore hats decorated with pheasant feathers (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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The troupe wore hats decorated with pheasant feathers (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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A large crowd came to join in at the Vaughan Millennium Apple Orchard in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A large crowd came to join in at the Vaughan Millennium Apple Orchard in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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A large crowd came to join in at the Vaughan Millennium Apple Orchard in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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A piece of toast soaked in cider is placed on the branch of a tree during the festivities (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A piece of toast soaked in cider is placed on the branch of a tree during the festivities (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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A piece of toast soaked in cider is placed on the branch of a tree during the festivities (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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Torches lit the procession route (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Torches lit the procession route (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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Torches lit the procession route (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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