Autumn Fruits in the Rain

Autumn Fruits walk in the rainAutumn Fruits in the Rain

It appears in recent years, that the Autumn Fruits Walk tends to act as a magnet to rain.  This year was no exception.  However, the weather forecast gave plenty of warning and so the 7 participants came prepared.

As for the walk itself, we again saw how the presence, location and abundance of plants vary from year to year. This time there were lots of the Continue reading “Autumn Fruits in the Rain”

Glorious Weather for Autumn Fruits Walk

The walkers enjoying the glorious weather

The walkers enjoying the glorious weatherGlorious Weather for Autumn Fruits Walk

Steve Hallam reports that this year’s Autumn Fruits walk had two noteworthy characteristics.  Firstly, it was blessed with the most glorious weather – wall to wall sunshine and windless. Secondly, this was one of those years in which the title should have been ‘Autumn fruits and flowers’.

Inconsistent Nature

I have commented before on Continue reading “Glorious Weather for Autumn Fruits Walk”

Autumn Fruits Report

Autumn Fruits Report

Steve Hallam reports on the Autumn Fruits walk around Hillhouse Wood and the surrounding area on the 18th October 2015:

Autumn Fruits 2015aAutumn Fruits 2015b

In mid-October I led the third of our Autumn Fruits walks.  These walks focus on berries and nuts, but also cover whatever else we find along the way.  Thirteen people came on the walk this year, which was pleasing bearing in mind the uninviting weather at the time.

It might reasonably be thought that, as this walk is primarily plant based, the same things would be seen each year.  Indeed this is what I had anticipated.  However it transpires that nature and predictability are not natural ‘fellow travellers’.  This year this worked slightly to our disadvantage, as several finds in 2014 were absent this time.  Chief among these was a spectacular display of wild hops, of which there was now no sign at all.  White bryony was another fruit that could not be found.  In general the numbers of berries were lower than in the two previous years.  The haws and hips were relatively thin in the hedgerows, as were the delicate Spindle tree berries.  The black berries of the Dogwood were nearly completely absent; in fact it was only through diligent searching by party members that a few were found.

Despite these absences, the area in and around Hillhouse Wood is so productive that we still ran out of time before we had stopped to see and talk about all the berries, nuts and flowers that are visible at this time of year.  The walk pays most attention to aspects of the countryside such as the ways in which plants were once used by people, how they can indicate the line of historic boundaries, the mythological beliefs that were associated with certain plants, and the tricks they use to survive.  Flowers such as the humble and unspectacular looking Yarrow or St. John’s Wort were once important to previous generations, used to cure ailments and protect crops from disease.  Our two Guelder rose shrubs put on their normal spectacular display, while the Ivy berries were maturing in their normal abundance.  Of the two, the latter were of much greater use to people, and have more interesting stories to tell.  One of its uses was to protect households from malicious goblins, especially at Christmas time.

Blackberries have been abundant this year, although largely over by now.  We were also able to find Woody nightshade and the related Black nightshade, the former a climber but the latter an upright herbaceous plant of disturbed ground.  Two strands of Black bryony were found, the only member of the Yam family to grow in Britain.  A few Holly berries were tucked away, and one Honeysuckle plant which was simultaneously showing berries and flowers.  In the wood the Sweet chestnuts had produced their normal heavy crop of well protected nuts.

So, all in all, we had a very successful walk which I trust everyone enjoyed.

Steve Hallam

Autumn Fruits Walk 2015

Autumn Fruits Walk 2015

A report by Steve Hallam

In mid-October, I led the third of our Autumn Fruits walks. These walks focus on berries and nuts, but also cover whatever else we find along the way. Thirteen people came on the walk this year, which was pleasing bearing in mind the uninviting weather at the time.

Nature predictable?

It might reasonably be thought that, as this walk is primarily plant-based, the same things would be seen each year. Indeed this is what I had anticipated. However, it transpires that nature and predictability are not natural ‘fellow travellers’. This year this worked slightly to our disadvantage, as several finds in 2014 were absent this time. Chief among these was a spectacular display of wild hops, of which there was now no sign at all. White bryony was another fruit that could not be found. In general, the numbers of berries were lower than in the two previous years. The haws and hips were relatively thin in the hedgerows, as were the delicate Spindle tree berries. The blackberries of the Dogwood were nearly completely absent; in fact, it was only through diligent searching by party members that a few were found.

Historic references

Despite these absences, the area in and around Hillhouse Wood is so productive that we still ran out of time before we had stopped to see and talk about all the berries, nuts and flowers that are visible at this time of year. The walk pays most attention to aspects of the countryside such as the ways in which plants were once used by people, how they can indicate the line of historic boundaries, the mythological beliefs that were associated with certain plants, and the tricks they use to survive. Flowers such as the humble and unspectacular looking Yarrow or St. John’s wort were once important to previous generations, used to cure ailments and protect crops from disease.

Our two Guelder rose shrubs put on their normal spectacular display, while the Ivy berries were maturing in their normal abundance. Of the two, the latter were of much greater use to people, and have more interesting stories to tell. One of its uses was to protect households from malicious goblins, especially at Christmas time.

Yams?

Blackberries have been abundant this year, although largely over by now. We were also able to find Woody nightshade and the related Black nightshade, the former a climber but the latter an upright herbaceous plant of disturbed ground. Two strands of Black bryony were found, the only member of the Yam family to grow in Britain. A few Holly berries were tucked away, and one Honeysuckle plant which was simultaneously showing berries and flowers. In the wood, the Sweet chestnuts had produced their normal heavy crop of well-protected nuts.

So, all in all, we had a very successful walk which I trust everyone enjoyed.

Autumn Fruits & Fungus

autumn fruits october 2015Autumn Fruits Walk

Next Sunday, 18th October, sees Steve Hallam leading an Autumn Fruits walk around Hillhouse Wood.  This walk will seek out berries, soft fruit, nuts & seeds along with any flowers & birds that might crop up en-route.  Steve will explain how these fruits have been used by humans and animals, the folklore about them, which ones should not be eaten – and what will happen to you if you do! You should expect to see around 20 types of berries, fruits and nuts.

The walk will take in Hillhouse Wood and surrounding hedgerows, and will thus be a little longer than normal.  Strong boots or wellies should be worn, as we may encounter long wet grass!

If you want to join us, met at the Old Church at 2pm (weather permitting).

The walk is arranged by the Friends of Hillhouse Wood in conjunction with the Woodland Trust.

Autumn Fruits at Hillhouse Wood

Fruits of Autumn
Join Steve Hallam for his Autumn Walk

Discover the fruits of autumn

On Saturday 27th September, Steve Hallam will lead a guided ‘autumn walk’ to seek out berries, soft fruit, nuts and seeds, that are now out in abundance, along with any flowers and birds that we see along the way.  He will explain how these fruits have been used by humans and animals, the folklore about them, which ones should not be eaten – and what will happen to you if you do!  You should expect to see around 20 types of berries, fruits and nuts.

The walk will take in Hillhouse Wood and surrounding hedgerows, and will thus be a little longer than normal.  Meet at the Old Church at 2pm (weather permitting); strong boots or wellies should be worn, as we may encounter long wet grass!

Organized by the Friends of Hillhouse Wood in conjunction with the Woodland Trust.