Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Coltsfoot Rock and Bread and Cheese

One of the earliest wildflowers to bloom is coltsfoot, it grows in damp places by streams and hedgerows and the leaves and flowers have been used to treat coughs and asthma since ancient times. None of the leaves in the photo have anything to do with the coltsfoot flowers though.

Coltsfoot is easy to spot as the bright yellow flowers appear on leafless stems which are covered with a white down.

It's the shape of the leaves which give the coltsfoot its name.

They don't appear until after the flowers have gone to seed.

Does anyone else remember coltsfoot rock? It was used as a cough sweet when I was a child and it is still made by the same Lancashire firm to the original secret recipe. I haven't tasted it for years but I do remember that I liked it.

The bread and cheese part of the title refers to hawthorn leaves, mum and I always picked some of the fresh young leaves and ate them when we were out walking. I still do:) They have a lovely tangy taste.

My DH is currently in the West Indies with a couple of his friends watching cricket so I'm doing a great deal of dog walking at the moment. A few days ago B Baggins and I walked up this old hollow lane which used to be the main route between Totley and Holmsfield. It's a very ancient track indeed and for most of the year it's also very muddy. Totley was part of the parish of Dronfield until a church was built in the neighbouring village of Dore in the early nineteenth century. Prior to that time this was the coffin route to the parish church in Dronfield which is a good 4 miles!

There was lots of Dog's Mercury around - it was named for the Greek messenger of the gods but the 'Dog' part of its name indicates that it is poisonous.

The hollow lane is very sheltered and so there was quite a lot of lesser celandine in flower.

We walked up past the early 17th century Woodthorpe Hall which our history group will be visiting later this summer, I'm looking forward to seeing the inside of it.

A short way past Woodthorpe Hall the old hollow lane continues up to Holmsfield while the bottom of Fanshawgate Lane goes up to the right. A public footpath goes past the back of Fanshawegate Hall If you click on the link there is a post about this lovely old building. We walked past the duck pond.....

.....past two rather splendid hens anxious to avoid B Baggins............

.....and into the field behind the wonderful medieval Tithe Barn. You will see it more clearly if you click on the photo. It isn't very good as the sun was behind the barn and shining towards me.

You haven't seen anything yet of the other member of the party so here is B Baggins on his way down the field towards Gillfield Wood where I saw....

....the very first wood anenome of the year:)


Anonymous said...

Lovely walk with some wonderful photos - so nice to see the early flowers.

rel said...

As always a splendid tour with a taste of spring.

La Maison said...

Dear Rowan

You showed me a lot of beautiful things during the walk.
I love B. Baggins, the dog as well as the name.
Thank you for bring me spring!!


debbie bailey said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are very fortunate to have such lovely places to walk. Thank you for sharing with us.

Bovey Belle said...

That looks such an interesting walk. I get so tired of my same round the lane ones here, for all the lovely views.

We have lots of Celendines out now, and a few Wild Daffodils, and I too saw the first Wood Anemones this past week. Dog's Mercury out on the oldest hedgerows too.

AND the first hawthorn trees putting out tentative leaves - mum and I used to call it bread and cheese too.

Janet said...

You and B Baggins go on the most wonderful and interesting walks. I always enjoy seeing your photos along the way.

elaine said...

A lovely spring walk - lovely to see natures' bounty - I have an uncle who lives in Dronfield - he has never mentioned such walks as you manage to find.

MorningAJ said...

I love coltsfoot rock and I've never associated it with the plant before!

Love this post.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Thank you for the lovely walk. I always learn something new on these walks, and enjoy the scenery.

Rosie said...

What a fascinating walk; the old tithe barn and Woodthorpe Hall look very interesting no wonder you are looking forward to seeing inside it!:)

Roy said...

I dont remember the Coltsfoot rock D. Perhaps it was an area specific thing. I guess that old lane could tell some tales. I have not seen any Anemones yet, I must go to where I have seen them most years. They must be out by now if you have some. You don't see many old barns like that where I originated from as as most have been converted into mansions now.{:)

Mary said...

Lovely photos of all things English.............Rowan you always spoil me!

Off this coming Wed. to explore new places via the QE. Not much time remaining and so much to do!

Hugs - Mary

Diane said...

Lovely post Rowan - so very much in touch with the season - as always. Ive just been given a booklet to read about Fanshaw Hall (I'll photocopy it and send you a copy as its very old). I'll have to visit when its an open day. Lovely walk.

WOL said...

what a lovely walk you had with spring flowers and all. Was your DH figuratively in the West Indies (as in watching on telly), or did he actually go there?

Louise said...

A lovely walk and nice to see so many spring plants. There's a shop in town where I sometimes go and buy coltsfoot rock because it's delicious!

Rowan said...

Hello WOL - DH is literally in the West Indies:) St Vincent at the moment and they go to St Lucia later this week.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I've never heard of Coltsfoot Rock though I seem to recall something about the leaves being used as a tobacco substitute. Magnificent tithe-barn, splendid hollow way and a thoroughly enjoyable outing.

Thimbleanna said...

It looks like spring has arrived in your part of the world! Your photos are beautiful and I always enjoy a peek at your outings!

Barb said...

Rowan, goodness, your pictures are just wonderful. Just a pleasure to look at.

Happy Monday!


Dog Trot Farm said...

Rowan what a splendid tour, how wonderful is that lovely old English barn. Coltsfoot reminds me of a Dandelion. How nice it is to see flowers in spring bloom, I do hope winter is behind us. Wonderful family photographs, your parents wedding photo is such a priceless treasure. Greetings from Dog Trot Farm, Julie. The sap is flowing!

sarah-jane down the lane said...

We have lots of celandine blooming and a few daisies and primroses on the banks along the hedge but no coltsfoot - I will be looking for it this afternoon. Never heard of the remedy either, sounds interesting,

Sarah -x-