Amble to bramble for top crop of blackberries

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Blackberries are set to have a bumper year, spelling good news for wildlife from dormice to foxes as well as fans of the fruit.

Brambles are one of a number of species of fruiting trees and plants that have benefited from the cold winter and a warm, dry summer, which has helped stimulate flowering and produce plenty of fruits, plant charity Plantlife said.

And last year’s cool, wet summer delivered a poor autumn harvest of blackberries but helped brambles put on growth, setting them up for a bumper year when the conditions allowed.

Richard Moyse, in charge of Plantlife’s Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve in Kent, said: “This year the summer did turn really nice, and when it did get under way the plant has got all this energy it can put into flowering and it has gone for it. Everything’s right for flowers to develop and set.”

The warm, dry conditions in the summer have helped fruit production, and berries are ripening nicely, the charity said.

The bumper year for blackberries will benefit a host of wildlife, many of whom struggled in last year’s poor autumn.

“Dormice will fatten up on them, badgers love them, foxes love them, all the birds, even butterflies and hoverflies when the fruit has broken out, it’s good all round,” Mr Moyse said.

This autumn, visitors to woodlands are likely to see a spectacular show of a host of forest fruits and nuts from species such as oaks, hawthorns, beeches and ash trees experiencing a “mast year”, the Forestry Commission said.

In mast years, tree species produce very large crops, compared with almost none in other years.