Social Media

You can find me on the following social media platforms...

Muddy Faces

Published on 23.04.24 in Nature & recipes

Be Nice to Nettles week, 14-25 May

Anyone who has had a run-in with a nettle plant and has come off for the worse may shout Why Be Nice to Nettles? Read on to find out!

The joy of nettles

Liz Edwards, Muddy Faces director, says

ladybird on a nettle leaf in grass, next to a rock

"We have a family nettle story that often gets wheeled out at gatherings:

My middle brother, aged about four-years-old, dressed in shorts and t-shirt (probably towelling shorts as they often were in the 70s), manages to get out the garden gate. My parents lived on a steep road in Old Colwyn in North Wales. He sits on his horse (with wheels), lifts up his feet and starts to head off down the hill, probably a little faster than he intended. At the bottom he hits the kerb and is catapulted into the air. Luckily for him he lands in a garden waste/compost pile which gives him a nice soft landing. Unluckily for him the space was also occupied by many large stinging nettles. Ouch."

The Nettle - Urtica dioica - is massively important both historically and today. And, like dandelions in our newsletter, they can be incredibly abundant - so they can be used in many educational and recreational ways, always foraged sustainably of course.

Historically nettles were used to make cloth, and making nettle cordage is a great activity to do with your children. Now is a great time to harvest nettles for making cordage, and it's also a good time for nettle soup, while the leaves are young and juicy.

Nettles are extremely important for wildlife. Ladybirds and many butterflies lay their eggs on stinging nettles. When the caterpillars hatch they feast on the nutritious nettle leaves. Keep an eye out for red admirals, small tortoiseshells and peacock commas.

There are many medicinal uses for nettles. Apparently the Romans rubbed nettles on their arms and legs to help keep themselves warm.

Your nettle ideas - thanks for sharing

Thanks to everyone who shared their nettle ideas with us on social media - seems most of you have wild food on your minds!

Wendy Elsdon on Facebook said:

Nettle pancakes!

Use rubber gloves and pick nettle tops from a "clean" source. Wash them and blanch them in boiling water (they will look like wilted spinach).

Make a pancake mix (eggs, flour, milk).

Add the blanched nettles to the mixture and cook the pancakes. :)

Nettle pakoras!

Mel Evans shared this link to a recipe for Nettle Pakoras on the Nature Nurture Sussex site.

"Great with dandelion jam!" she says (you could try our dandelion jam recipe and find out if that is true!)

Nettle soup!

Juliet Robertson of Creative Star Learning kindly shared her own recipe for nettle soup, in a blog she wrote back in 2010 (our version of nettle soup is down below, why not try them both?!)

More nettle things!

Thanks to Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, who suggested nettle cordage - great minds think alike - see our nettle cordage activity in the Outdoor Hub section below :)

Sal Preston mentioned a nettle crisp recipe, but sadly we were unable to track it down in time. Thanks Sal.

Find out more about nettles

Loads more useful links on the Growing & Gardens / plants & wildflowers LINKS page of our Outdoor Hub.

Nettles in the Muddy Faces shop

Our one stop shop has a diverse selection of practical, educational and inspiring products for all your forest school, outdoor play and learning requirements.

101 Uses for Stinging Nettles - Piers M Warren

£7.00 exVAT

Exploring many ways to use nettles - in the garden and kitchen, for their medical and fibrous properties. Packed with practical suggestions, collection & storage, and botanical info.

Buy now

Nettle and Dock - Sacha & Thomas Webborn

£8.99 exVAT

Outdoor center's and forest school leaders will love having this book as a fun resource in their arsenal to start the day, to bring the group together for a calming down and catching breath, or as a plenary to guide reflection ...

Buy now

Junior Digger Gloves - 6-10yrs

From: £3.99 exVAT

Get outside and garden with these bright colourful gloves. Perfect for kids to keep hands clean and learn about the great outdoors.

Buy now

Foraging Bundle

£40.99 exVAT

All the ID advice, cooking guidance and recipes that you need for foraging in the UK.

Food for Free, Richard Mabey / The Edible City, John Rensten / The Foragers Cookbook, James Wood.

Buy now

Nettles on the Outdoor Hub

The Outdoor Hub has a wealth of inspiring activities, events and information. Each section has been designed to encourage engagement in the outdoors, connection with nature and to help spark imaginative play and creativity.

Nettle cordage

Nettle fibres are really strong and even stronger when made into cordage.

Read More about Nettle cordage

Nettle soup

A super simple spring and foraging nettle soup recipe. So tasty; give it a try!

Read More about Nettle soup


Keep in touch

Register to receive our free email newsletter, full of outdoor inspiration, dates, deals and competitions.