Autumn Herb Walk around Herstmonceux Castle and Observatory

Hi Everyone, I had been complaining for ages that we had not seen any Oak or Horsechestnut trees in East Sussex. So off we went on a beautiful autumn morning to the grounds around Herstmonceux Castle and Observatory to some woods to see what we could find.

There is a brilliant Science centre on the old observatory site. The observatory was moved down from Greenwich when the lights from London got too much for the night sky and then the lights in east Sussex got too much from modern developments, so the observatory was moved and was eventually converted into a science centre which I think is way better than the one in London.There is still a working telescope there which you can look through on astronomy open nights.

Anyway to get back to the trees. My Husband, Mike, reminded me that most of the trees in the south of England were cut down for boat building. On top of that East Sussex was a smelting and brick making area and trees were cut down for the iron and brick kilns. That is the reason much of Ashdown forest is not actually forest but heath land.

We found Sweet Chestnuts, lots of Oaks with acorns and two large Horsechestnut trees at the end of the walk.

Acorns at Herstmonceux

Although I wasn’t looking for anything else we also saw Chickweed, Chicory and Beech trees. There are write ups on Chickweed, Chicory, Oak and Horsechestnut in the herb section.

The sweet chestnuts and beech nuts are a good food source but we did not have time to collect them. Actually I was surprised that the sweet chestnuts had grown to a reasonable size because we have had very little rain this summer and the beech nuts were yummy. I’m happy now I have seen Oaks and Horsechestnuts in East Sussex!

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

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