MASS gatherings of Morris dancers are becoming something of a local spring tradition in Ledbury, and this year will be no exception.

Scores of Morris dancers from all over the country, including Devon, will gather at the market town on Sunday April 15 "to share and celebrate the unique Welsh Border tradition".

Hosting the event, as ever, will be the local Morris 'side', the Silurian Border Morris Men.

A spokesman for the Silurians said: "The event, known as a Blackmeet, brings together groups who continue the local tradition of disguising their faces with black paint or burnt cork.

"Many Morris groups, known as sides, enjoy dancing this vigorous style which was first revived in the Ledbury area in the 1960s."

The spokesman added: "We perform traditional dances collected from towns and villages on the borders of England and Wales in the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

"Our dances were collected by the late Dave Jones, founder member of the side, during the 1960's and 1970's from historical records and first hand accounts of the dances from some of the surviving Welsh Border Morrismen who had performed the dances in the 1920's. Today we still perform this original repetoire of dances."

The meet takes place each year, moving from location to location; but after a successful gathering in Ledbury in April 2015, it returned to Ledbury again, for St George's day 2017.

So this year will be the third year out of four that the Herefordshire market town has had the honour.

Dancing on April 15 will begin at 11am with a presentation of funds to St Michaels Hospice: over £2,200 raised at the annual wassail at Weston’s Cider, Much Marcle, in January.

Sides will then visit The Market House, The Master’s House, The Brewery and The Talbot throughout the day.

The spokesman added: "Taking part are Styx of Stroud, Stone the Crows (Lancashire), Beorma (Birmingham), Domesday (Staffordshire), Bakanalia (Leicester), Beltane (Devon) and others may accept the invite to just turn up on the day."