January 2023

A warm welcome to 2023 at Molly’s Wood

The Committee

And a warm welcome too, to David Stovell and Jonathan Watkins, as new members of Molly’s Wood Committee. We look forward to fruitful collaborations.

Unfortunately, we also have to say farewell to Val Gibbons, who has been a loyal member of the committee for many years and contributed in numerous ways. Including writing this seasonal newsletter and the creation of an annual Christmas calendar. She has left for pastures new, we wish her well.

Water and Car Parking

After many months of toing and froing we at last have a mains water supply in Molly’s Wood, for the use of visiting groups. If you want access, please contact Jane at

We also have new matting in the car park to avoid churning the ground at the entrance.


Rev Liz Paxton organised a Halloween event on the site on the 31st of October, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to bad weather. Please inform Jane if you know of anyone interested in bringing a group on site.

Molly’s Wood Trees: The Hawthorn

As a part of these newsletters we are writing a piece on the various trees found on the site. The first is the hawthorn. 

Hawthorn (cretaceous monogyna)

hawthorn berries.JPG

There is an area of Molly’s Wood, which we have decided to leave to its own devices, only cutting a few paths to make it accessible. It is the triangle of land that runs along the long path adjacent to Hull’s Mill Lane. The hawthorn is the tree which is most conspicuously colonising this area. It is a true pioneer, quickly taking over grassland that is left ungrazed or uncut. For some it is called ‘scrub’ and seen as worthless, for me it is the opposite of that. It is a special tree favoured by wildlife. Its dense thorny branches providing a haven for nesting birds (particularly the red-listed linnet and whitethroat), whilst its whitey/pink blossoms cast a sweet aroma over the landscape in May. In the autumn and winter its red berries are a crucial food supply for the wintering thrushes arriving from the far North. It has for long been the staple tree of hedgerows, creating a thorny barrier for stock and is known as quickthorn for obvious reasons.                    

But there is something else to the hawthorn, it is the ‘fairy tree’ where there are numerous tales of encounters with the ‘wee folk’. Thomas the Rhymer met the fairy queen there. I have an Irish storyteller friend who managed to get a new bypass re-routed so as not to destroy an old hawthorn that was particularly important for the fairy folk on the West coast. He said the workers would be found dead in their beds and there would be many accidents if they cut down that tree. And so, it remains.


We are always looking for contributions to this newsletter. If anyone has something to say about Molly’s wood whether it be something you observed or something that happened to you, no matter how small, we are interested in including it in future editions of this newsletter. Please let Jane know on

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