EVIL spirits were well and truly scared away from Dunster as young and old celebrated an ancient pagan tradition.

Pupils from Dunster First School kicked off the event on Thursday with a mini-wassail in the Buttercross Community Orchard, where the ceremony was revived in the village last year.

They banged on tins and chanted to ward off the spirits before tying toast dipped in apple juice on the branches of trees.

Juice was replaced by cider in the evening when people of all ages sang, danced and fired shotguns into the trees.

The wassailers toasted the health of the orchard with mulled cider before the musicians led a torchlight procession to the Forester Arms, where the festivities continued.

The Dunster Estate’s countryside manager, Andy Player, said: “Since the orchard was planted in 2010 it has continued to be a place that brings the local community together.

“Bringing back wassailing last year was a terrific success and this year’s event was just as popular. Despite the weather, everyone had a wonderful time and we are already looking forward to next year’s celebrations.”

Buttercross Community Orchard chairman Doug Challoner said: “The wassail was great success and an excellent time was had by all. The organising committee has worked hard to place the orchard at the heart of our community.”