Stinging Nettles

I was walking through Winchester, having one of those lovely experiences where you don’t have an end goal in mind at all and just go where the mood takes you. I was walking with the dog again, who was trit-trotting in front of me. I couldn’t hear anything where I was walking, except birdsong and a steady drone of insects. However, I suddenly had a feeling that I needed to put the dog on the lead. The reason for that is that the path suddenly got narrower, drawing my attention to a change, and lots of nettles appeared at the side. I popped her on the lead, rounded a corner and there was a road before me.

This reminded me of something I’d heard before: stinging nettles tend to be a sign of human habitation and can be used when lost to suggest a path. They also help archaeologists to find out where ancient settlements may have existed. This is because the plants, though they can flourish in a variety of soils, like those which are phosphate rich best. When you Google phosphate, all kinds of things to do with humans, our bodies, how we use it, come up; for that reason, places where human waste – in many forms – is, there lie nettles.



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