AN EVENING of Dorset carols, folksongs, toe-tapping dance tunes, and local poems and stories to welcome the midwinter and festive season can be enjoyed.

December is Ridgeway time, and once again The Ridgeway Singers & Band invite people to join them for an evening of entertainment.

Formed 10 years ago by Artsreach as part of the South Dorset Ridgeway project, the group specialises in performing the old gallery carols made famous by Thomas Hardy in Under the Greenwood Tree.

The singers are accompanied by nine musicians playing stringed and woodwind instruments, and the concerts evoke the fun, friendship and excitement of old-fashioned country Christmases when the entertainment was local and home-made.

The group is led by renowned serpent player and member of the Mellstock Band Phil Humphries, and actor and folk musician Tim Laycock, who is also the artistic director of the New Hardy Players.

This year the Ridgeway Singers & Band begin at St Nicholas’ Church, Abbotsbury, in the parish church on Friday, December 8.

There follows a matinee performance at  Church of Lady St Mary, Wareham, on Sunday, December 10 at 4pm.

The final concert will again be at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester on Wednesday, December 20 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available via the website or call 01305 262159. They cost £12 for adults and £6 for under 18s.