It has been some months since I last visited Kentle Wood; many weeks since I last scaled the absurdly complicated entrance stile. There is probably a government leaflet somewhere proffering advice about this: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/irritating.stiles./2g7au/is. But be careful: one tiny typo and you'll get guidance on sustainable scallop dredging, which is all very well if you live on the coast but... Incidentally I recently heard Julia Bradbury on BBC TV trot out the absurd yet-oft-repeated statement that 'nowhere in Britain are you more than 75 miles from the coast.' Try walking from Daventry to the sea, gal. I reckon that our nearest bit of coast is near Holbeach in Lincolnshire and is about 86 miles away.
Just before reaching the gate stands a small clump of Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus. I wrote a little about this very familiar North American shrub recently ('Ashby Fields' 24 November) but omitted to mention a curious fact: although the plump white berries contain seeds with apparently well-developed embryos, these seeds rarely germinate and little success has been had with this method of propagation even by professionals. And yet on the continent the species is spreading steadily by seed. It may be that the seeds need to pass through the gut of a bird and in Germany Greenfinches, Carduelis chloris consume the berries avidly. Only rarely are seedlings found in Britain.