A magical occasion for all the family, as part of National Tree Week.
Hundreds of lanterns illuminate a winter afternoon
The annual Tree Dressing event at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, at Singleton, near Chichester, West Sussex, is an ancient custom celebrating the life-giving properties of trees during National Tree Week.
The day’s finale as darkness falls is a stunning procession and spiral dance around two magnificent aspen trees, which are dressed with hundreds of lanterns made during the afternoon.
Celebrating traditional roots
With its origins in the Green Man legends and other ancient customs celebrating the life-giving properties of trees and the natural world, the Tree Dressing event enables visitors to enjoy and join in traditional songs, dances, plays and stories about trees and the countryside.
Visitors are invited to make a lantern during the afternoon (bring a jam jar!) which is then lit for the final procession. The lanterns are hung in the aspen trees making a spectacular display of colour and light to brighten a winter afternoon on the Museum’s beautiful site in the South Downs National Park.
Keeping history alive
Tree Dressing has been greatly enjoyed by visitors for many years at the Museum, in harmony with its aim of keeping alive the traditions of our rural past for future generations to appreciate.
Younger visitors are well catered for, not only with lantern making, but also headdress making and storytelling. Winter warmers include mulled cider, mulled apple juice, spiced biscuits and roasted chestnuts.
The Museum is open from 10.30am on December 7, with the Tree Dressing event starting at 12.30pm. Visitors wishing to make a lantern should aim to arrive promptly in order to participate in the final procession which closes the day and which starts at 3.45pm.
The Museum is open daily throughout the winter until 22 December, and then opens for ‘The Tudor Christmas’ from 26 December – 28 December 2014. The Museum is open daily during the festive season until 1 January 2015.
Admission prices for 2014 are adults £10.70, over 65s £9.70, children £5.90, family £30.40 (2+3), under 4 years are free. Prices including Gift Aid are adults £11.90, children £6.50, over 65s £10.90, family £33.50.
Opening hours are 10.30am to 6pm during British Summer Time, and 10.30am – 4pm during the rest of the year.
Notes to editors
Reporters and photographers welcome. For further information and photographs contact Kate Russell on 01243 811014.
Further details about the Museum and its activities are available on the Museum’s website www.wealddown.co.uk.
Located in the heart of the South Downs National Park, the award-winning Weald & Downland Open Air Museum has 50 historic building exhibits and is designated by the Government for the outstanding importance of its collections.
Exhibits include a medieval farmstead; a working watermill producing wholemeal stoneground flour; exhibitions focusing on traditional building techniques and agriculture; historic gardens, farm livestock and a working Tudor kitchen.
The Museum runs a well-established schools programme, and an award winning adult learning programme of courses in building conservation and rural crafts. There is a café which uses the Museum’s own flour and a shop with gifts and books on countryside and buildings themes.
The modern Downland Gridshell houses the Museum’s building conservation centre and artefact collection; there is a daily tour at 1.30pm when the Museum is open, and an appointments system for visits to the collections for research purposes.
“…The greatest variety of 15th and 16th century buildings in the country” – BBC TV’s Tudor Monastery Farm about its choice of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum for the series’ principal location