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Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Our ninth element in this outdoor storying challenge!

"Trusty, dusky, vivid, true,

With eye's of gold and bramble-dew..."

- 'My Wife', Robert Louis Stevenson

Welcome to our 'Fairytrails' challenge! If you would like a quick outline of what this is all about, click here! If you're ready to go - let's do it!

Recognising the bramble...

  • We're pretty certain that you'll be able to easily identify the bramble bush, but just in case - you're looking for a bush that has long, thorny and arching stems and can grow up to two metres or more high.

  • Each leaf is divided into three or five serrated, short-stalked, oval leaflets, which are dark green on top and pale underneath.

  • The flowers are in white or pink clusters and appear from late spring to early summer.

  • Use Flora Incognita or the Woodland Trust app to help you be certain that what you are looking at is, in fact, an oak tree!

When you pop out for your walk and finally find your bramble, you might be interested to know:

  • It was believed that it was forbidden to harm the bramble bush because it belonged to the faerie folk and the first berries of the season must be left for them. If you don't follow this advice, then any following fruit that you pick will be rotten and full of maggots - yuk!

  • The ancient Celts held it sacred and believed the fruit represented the three aspects of the Goddess: maiden, mother, crone. As the berries change colour it is believed they signify birth, life and death.

  • Some people say that after the 31st of October, any blackberries left on the bramble belong to the Devil so shouldn't be picked. Even if you don't believe this, they're usually past their best by then so probably best avoided anyway!

Now's the time for a tale...

Brambles are often associated with the Devil (apparently he landed in a bramble bush when he was kicked out of heaven) so here is the story of The Dragon and His Grandmother from the fab free audio website Storynory! It's a Grimm's fairytale and the dragon is, in fact, the Devil! (Hence the tricky riddles and attempt to make the soldiers his for life!)

Outdoor storying challenge #9:

OPTION 1: This is a TRICKY challenge and WILL REQUIRE GLOVES! Watch bushcraft expert Will Lord teach us how to make cordage out of bramble (easier in spring and summer but possible in winter as well!)

Bushcraft, podcasts and other things that might interest you...

Happy outdoor storying y'all! Let us know how you get on!

Pridie, Elva & Adelind :)

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