Yummy, raspberries (Rubus idaeus) are growing in the wood. Small but juicy and sweet, a great flavour. We did not plant these – they have just appeared along the edges of several rides. So this was not part of the planned planting of trees and shrubs, but a welcome addition to the fruit harvest at Holt Wood. Raspberries are rich in Vitamin C and contain anthocyanins and other constituents providing anti-oxidant effects.

Raspberry leaf is astringent and a muscle relaxant. It has traditional use in pregnancy during the last 2 months to tone the uterine muscles and assist labour. Dosage would be based on 1 teaspoon of dried herb made into an infusion from one to three times daily. Although reported as safe to use in this way, the research evidence is not extensive. One study showed a shortening of the second stage of labour and fewer forceps deliveries (Simpson, M., Parsons, M., Greenwood, J., and Wade, K. Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor. Journal of Midwifery and Womens Health, 2001. vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 51-59). Another use for Raspberry leaf is as a gargle for a sore throat, based on an ounce of dried leaf to a pint of water, made up as an infusion. Ideally the leaves should be picked before fruiting and, if not used straight away, dried thoroughly and stored in a cool, dry place.