St Mary’s News – the Daffodils & Hope edition

This edition of St Mary’s News starts with Daffodils & Hope and then continues with:

Daffodils - By Genet, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Daffodils and Hope

As March beckons, spring bursts onto the scene. The words of William Wordsworth might come to mind as we see the daffodils emerging from beneath the ground:

Continue reading “St Mary’s News – the Daffodils & Hope edition”

2022 Spring Flower Walk – but no pea shooters

Some of the spring flowers seen on the 2022 spring flower walk

Steve Hallam reports on the 2022 Spring Flower Walk.

This took place on a day of sunny intervals and a strong breeze; 12 people came along and off we went. Except that we did not go too far, to start with, as the first few yards of the track hold a variety of flowers to be discussed.

  • Daisies,
  • Dandelions,
  • Red campion,
  • Cow parsley,
  • Ground ivy,
  • Yellow archangel (domestic variety),
  • Garlic mustard,
  • Greater stitchwort and
  • Buttercup

… may not set everyone’s pulse racing – but they all contribute to a rich flora and they each have a story to tell. In the hands of a knowledgeable and articulate expert guide, these can weave a fascinating spell.

Unfortunately for the group, however, they had me – you get what you pay for!

Continue reading “2022 Spring Flower Walk – but no pea shooters”

2019 Spring Flower Walk with Storm Hannah

Wodland flowers to see on Spring Nature WalkStorm Hannah Besets Spring Walk

Whilst we had some glorious weather over the Easter weekend the following Saturday brought strong winds, overcast skies and the threat of rain courtesy of Storm Hannah.  It was in this environment that Steve Hallam lead the annual Spring Flower Walk into and around Hillhouse Wood.  Having successfully survived the walk, Steve reported:

A bit different

This year produced something a bit different – as I was nearly blown over at one point (with only a slight exaggeration for dramatic effect).  As luck would have it Storm Hannah chose that afternoon to blow some cobwebs away.

Despite the ‘challenging’ forecast I was pleased and relieved to see 22 people assemble for ‘the off’.  The graveyard and adjacent track hold a varied display of flowers, each with a story to tell.  I was able to show the group 13 species before we had walked 30 yards.  It is always nice to show people how much there is that they would otherwise have walked straight past.  Whilst things calmed down a bit after such a racing start, the track down to the entrance of the wood still revealed a lovely spread of Speedwells tucked into its verge.  And I was able to explain how Groundsel got its name.

And into the wood…

Once in the wood, I was able to find a last few Lesser celandine and Wood anemones – well past their prime, but still providing some colour.  In contrast, the Early purple orchids were showing well, with a good number of flower spikes. Regular readers will recall that every year there is some variation in what we see.  And so, it was that this year there were several lovely Violets flowering right by the path, while last year there were none.  In contrast, this year I could not find a single Lady’s smock or Bugle.

Wild Garlic Detour

As the ‘bracing’ weather had encouraged us to keep walking at a good pace, I decided that this year we would detour down to the bottom stream to see the Wild garlic.  This turned out to be an effort worth making, as the group were most interested in it.  It also provided me with yet another opportunity to say one thing, while ‘nature’ catches me out by doing the opposite.  I explained how the garlic only ever grows within a certain number of yards of the water and wondered how this was so precise.  Naturally, a few yards further along the path we found a patch of garlic growing three times this distance away from the water!


We then visited all of the three main areas of Bluebells, which were just about fully out.  We felt that the display was not quite up to the standard of some years, as we could see individual flower spikes, as opposed to a solid ‘carpet’ of blue.  Perhaps last summer’s drought was the reason?  Still impressive, though.  Finally, I was able to show the group the ‘non-flowers’ of Golden saxifrage, so easy to miss.  And then also the tiny and weird symmetrical flowerhead of Moschatel, or Town-hall clock.”

2019 Spring Flower Walk – Bluebell Heaven

Bluebells at Hillhouse Wood

Bluebells at Hillhouse Wood - 2019 Spring Walk
Hillhouse Wood is renowned for its bluebell display every spring

2019 Spring Flower Walk

Steve Hallam’s Guided 2019 Spring flower walk is fast approaching.  These gentle walks guide you from the Old Church into the wonderful Hillhouse Woods in their spring glory where you might be fortunate to see many species of wildlife as well as spring flowers.

The guided walk starts at Continue reading “2019 Spring Flower Walk – Bluebell Heaven”

Crime Prevention in Spring

Planting young plants in spring

Crime Prevention in Spring

Colchester Neighbourhood Watch recently issued Crime Reports showing no incidents in West Bergholt between 27th March & 2nd April.  They also had some advice to offer to help prevent crime at this time of year.

Planting young plants in springWell, spring has sprung and the migration into the garden has commenced with all the extra jobs that it brings. Unfortunately, with the spring season also comes seasonal crimes too and we need give this a little consideration to prevent them and help others avoid becoming victims too.

Continue reading “Crime Prevention in Spring”

Bluebells & Nature

Join the Friends of Hillhouse Wood for their regular Bluebell Open Day & Spring Nature Walk from 1pm on Sunday 22nd April.  The Friends’ display at the Old Church will feature information about the wood and offer a chance to collect maps, nature trails and quizzes on the wood for both adults & children.  Weather permitting, guided walks, led by Joe Firmin, will start at 2pm and be repeated as necessary, to see the Bluebells and other spring flowers, butterflies and spring bird life, possibly early nightingales.  Refreshments are available.   

This material has been developed for the West Bergholt Village Website at

Spring Nature Walk & Bluebell Open Afternoon – Hillhouse Wood

The Friends of Hillhouse Wood, in conjunction with the Woodland Trust, have two upcoming opportunities to see the wood in all its spring splendour.

Sunday 18th April is the Spring Nature Walk; starting from the Old Church at 10am you are advised to wear stout footwear or wellies and warn clothing. Joe Firmin and Philip Smith will lead the walk in which you have the opportunity to see numerous spring birds inlcuding chiffchaffs and other warblers, spring butterflies and the earliest spring flowers.
The next date for your diary is Saturday 24th April when there is a Bluebells & Spring Wildlife Open Afternoon. Starting at the Old Church at 2pm where the Friends have a display between 2-4pm, you can join Joe Firmin and Philip Smith for a guided walk to see the bluebells and other spring flowers, butterflies and spring bird life, possibly including early nightingales.
Both events are “weather permitting”.
This material has been developed for the West Bergholt Village Website at

Spring Weddings…

The Colne Valley Flower Club will welcome David Wright from Norwich on Wednesday 15 April in the Orpen Memorial Hall at 7.30pm. He will be demonstrating Spring Weddings. Members are asked to bring along an Easter Arrangement.

The picture right is of a bride with spring flower bouquet – the image is by griff on flikr.

This material has been developed for the West Bergholt Village Website at
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