A lovely weekend with a house full of guests. A house so full in fact that some were sleeping in the drive in their Dormobile. On Saturday we climbed to the Pepper Pot via the favourite yew and the fallen beeches. On the beech roots the mass of Inkcaps had all but disappeared, but these Earthballs were thrusting up through the leaf-litter nearby. It was a dull day with occasional short-lived showers. We walked through Eaves Wood to Water Slack then round Haweswater and back via Bank Well and Lambert’s Meadow. Oddly, there are goldfish in Bank Well. Baby S will probably remember it best for the large cold drops of rain which began to fall at a most inopportune moment whilst I was changing his nappy – apparently the rain was cold.

Saturday was grand despite the weather, but Sunday was fantastic with clear skies and bright sunshine as well as the fabulous company. We were back in Eaves Wood but this time heading for Far Arnside and a coastal route to Arnside. In the woods there were lots of Speckled Wood butterflies about again. Near Far Arnside this Red Admiral was basking on a wall…

Ivy growing on the wall here was loud with bees, many of them clearly already heavily laden with pollen…

We stopped by the shore while baby S had a nap. The adults enjoyed the sunshine the kids dashed about on the rocks and collected tiny crabs. The tide was right in, scuppering our envisaged play on the beach, but it didn’t seem to matter. The walk around the cliff path to White Creek was unusually busy. With the tide in we took the most direct route to New Barns and stopped again for a late lunch in Grubbins Wood…

The small meadow in the wood was well stocked with late summer flowers, the names of which elude me at present…

S decided to walk from this point which slowed our already very moderate pace to a crawl. Particularly when he and his brother decided to try to climb into some rabbit holes…


In the shingle of the river’s edge nearby some large herbaceous shrubs…


…covered in berries with an attractive purple ruff..

These berries are apparently sweet, or so I read, which is unfortunate since they are Deadly Nightshade, or Belladonna, ‘the most poisonous plant in the Western Hemisphere’. I’ve seen them flowering near here before, but not the berries. Apparently a single leave or about 20 berries can be fatal to an adult, and the roots are more toxic still.

We opted for ice creams in Arnside instead to round off an excellent day.


3 thoughts on “Belladonna

  1. Hiya Mark,
    Just been catching up on your posts – superb fungi in the last.
    I reckon the first of your elusive flowers is Devilsbit Scabious – the flower has quite a domed shape – quite a bit of it about down here at present, and very popular with the bees and flies.

  2. I’ve not seen a Red Admiral for quite a few years… I used to see them all the time Mark. Those berries look so tempting as well….. shame they are so deadly…. so much folklore with such a plant as well.

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