The hawthorn trees are laden with their scarlet berries at the moment, awaiting the arrival of hordes of marauding fieldfare.
‘Hopperty haws’ are super-fruit, fabulously rich in both Vitamin C and folklore, associated with protection and sacrifice, perhaps even Christ’s crown of thorns. In Ireland, there are instances where engineers have designed new roads to avoid felling a hawthorn tree and upsetting the fairies.
A popular hedgerow tree, hawthorns are however opportunist, springing up whenever there is protection from grazing.
The name comes from the Old English “haga”, which is shortened from “hagu-berige” meaning “hedge-berry”.
This tree has found a home in a depression caused by the subsidence of the old ironstone workings below Roseberry Topping.