HUNDREDS of morris men descended on Wantage to celebrate the Icknield Way Morris Men’s golden anniversary.

About 200 dancers danced across various parts of the historic market town entertaining shoppers and visitors.

More than 12 teams performed traditional English dances on Saturday and Sunday.

Pete Smith, the Ickield side’s bagman, said: “The weekend went extremely well. Everyone had a wonderful time. The weather was kind. We could not have wished for anything better.”

The Icknield Way Morris Men take their name from the ancient track – better known as The Ridgeway.

The group was formed 50 years ago at Icknield School — now King Alfred’s Community and Sport College’s east site. And in celebration of its 50th birthday, eight original members took part in the celebrations, dancing in costume.

Mr Smith, 64, of Uffington, joined the group 25 years ago.

He said: “What was really good was the number and variety of sides who came. Most of them were local and from Oxfordshire.

“We danced in the town centre, Betjeman Park, outside the Vale and Downland Museum and various parts of the town. Everybody got to see us.

“We finished on Saturday with a procession from the top of Grove Street to Sainsbury’s in Limborough Road where we performed a big display.

“What was nice was that we had so many of our original members taking part.”

The celebrations continued long in to Saturday evening with a barn dance, jointly organised by White Horse Ceilidhs, in Old Mill Hall, Grove.

The Icknield Morris Men rounded off their celebrations by dancing on top of White Horse Hill, alongside the famous chalk landmark on Sunday.

Mr Smith added: “We had about 50 dancers still with us on Sunday and we continued until mid-afternoon – a big thanks to everyone who took part.”

The Icknield Way Morris Men currently has 35 members ranging in age between 12 and 65.

It has a repertoire of more than 40 dances from eight different Cotswold traditions.