A wander around in the nucleus of mistletoe country

Mistletoe Berries, almost ‘glowing’ in the winter sun.

Berkeley Power Station, the UK’s first commercial nuclear power plant, sits on the edge of the River Severn in Gloucestershire. Opened in 1962 and closed in 1989 it still dominates the area, though it is now in advanced stages of decommission. And it is surrounded by mistletoe, as this is the nucleus (geddit??) of UK mistletoe country.

Its sister Oldbury (operating 1967-2012, famous for featuring in Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who episodes) is visible a little further down river. Hinckley Point A (1965-2000)  & B (1976 to date) are well over the horizon to the south, as is the controversial part-built Hinckley Point C (20??- )

Berkeley Castle, just up the road, is at the opposite extreme of modernity, lived in by the same family since the 12th Century.

But back to the mistletoe – this is the Severn Vale, home of most of Gloucestershire’s mistletoe, growing in old orchards, parkland lime trees and riverside poplars – as well as lots of other habitats and hosts.  And, last Saturday, we took advantage of a sunny day (merging effortlessly into grey rain later) to walk a circuit from Bevington, just south of Berkeley town, along the high ridge of Whitcliff Deer Park, into Berkeley town, out onto the riverside at the Power Station and along the floodwall before turning back inland.

At first, not much mistletoe –the southern end of Whitcliff Park is planted with Beech and Oak, neither particularly good for mistletoe. But further north there is the inevitable line of Lime trees, typical of English Parkland and festooned with mistletoe.  Further on, in the vale itself there is a glorious excess of mistletoe on many of the road and streamside (aka drainage ditch-side) Poplars with yet more out by the Power Station site.  It makes for some interesting landscapes.  Nothing to do with the Power Station, obviously, but did berries glow in the winter sun more than usual?

Some pictures, some with captions, below…

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Lastly, some mistletoe links – for general mistletoe info visit the Mistletoe Pages website.

And for mistletoe books, cards or kits to grow your own glowing berries visit the English Mistletoe Shop website:

Dr Who, Mistletoe and werewolves…

“Omigod!!!” Mistletoe has just featured in Dr Who!!

Sorry about the OmiGod, I know it’s getting a bit passe now*. But Dr Who and Mistletoe – what more could one ask for??

Ok, so it wasn’t exactly explained why european mistletoe kept an alien werewolf (more correctly a ‘lupine wavelength human variform’) at bay, but it did seem to work. The Doc and his companions (including Queen Victoria) survived unharmed for a while in a panelled room varnished with ‘Oil of Mistletoe’. And it wasn’t quite technically perfect – the Doc seemed to think Viscum album was the name for ‘Oil of Mistletoe’ rather than the plant itself – but he did accurately point out it was full of Lectins and Viscotoxins – so perhaps these Time Lords do know what they’re on about after all. Must try this myself next werewolf season…

For a full plot synopsis try the Wikipedia site. I may have missed a bit – as I was watching the repeat on BBC3 – a digital channel we still don’t get here in densely populated Gloucestershire – a scandal the Beeb and/or the Government must sort out soon or I’ll be taking them to court for breach of contract on the TV licence. We can only watch it whilst holding the aerial lead and with a specially boosted signal – and even then it conks out every minute or two. But the cricked neck from holding the aerial was worth it.

Er, that’s it for now, mostly relatively quiet on the mistletoe front (apart from the ongoing grow your own enquiries, more mistletoe initiatives in London, the Royal Worcester Mistletoe mug initiative etc etc… keeps me busy, even out of season)

*For non-UK readers, or those in the UK who’ve spent the last few months in solitary, Omigod became the (rather tedious) catchphrase of Chantelle, the, er, non-celebrity who won the recent UK Celebrity Big Brother – if you really really want to know what that’s about you could try clicking here…)