Category Archives: Villagers

Advice, Recipes and Foraging Ideas to Stay Well

Advice from Fiona Taylor, Horley’s Respected Herbalist on wellbeing, foraging opportunities and recipes for these difficult times.

Another 3 weeks of lockdown and that is just for the non-vulnerable!

The shadow of Covid-19 hangs over all of us but what we will remember is not our dark thoughts and anxiety, it is how we as individuals and as a community deal with the challenge, resilience is not about avoiding bad situations it is about how we face them.

The gardens of Horley always beautiful will now be pristine, our community network is up and doing a fantastic job, so how about looking to nature in our gardens and on our walks for mental, emotional and physical support?

Many of you will have come on herb walks with me, now is the time to put some of that knowledge into action. Spring has arrived and with it the opportunity to incorporate many wild or garden plants into our diets to aid both our mental and emotional wellbeing and our immune systems.

I am sure you all know what a good diet is but this from Tysoe and Kineton surgery explains why.

With all this fuss and handwashing I am just Amazed no one has mentioned supporting our human IMMUNE SYSTEMS! These use white blood cells to protect you from, but if nec. to clear up infection and aid recovery. The Immune System need good nutrition to function. Plenty of fresh food, steam broccoli 🥦with a tomato🍅 and its almost anti-cancer too! Eggs good, fish brilliant. (Cod liver oil if it’s too difficult to get that fresh fish.)

Also, your body loves to take a walk, 🌞. Come on U know all this. … Seafront, the park, woods, sport? In Nature, In your wheelchair too? ~ 20 mins minimum outside for your daily dose of Vitamin D for Daylight.

  • Keep your Immune System healthy and working to protect you by eating well. Plenty of fresh fruit and veg. 🍊🍋🍌🍍🥑
  • Drink plenty of water, a glass half an hour before meals, wonderful.
  • Avoid over processed food such as white flour products and white sugar.
  • Stay healthy and warm and take a smile out🙂 with you to pass on
  • Lots of good sleep to you that are ill. 🤒

Please note none of the advice given is intended to be a substitute for seeking advice or treatment from your doctor.

If anyone would like specific advice or a simple medicine, please email or ring me. I will not charge for consultations and will only charge cost for any herbs during the Corona pandemic.

01295 738609

I aim to discuss one or two plants or group of plants or spices at a time with some recipes for you to try.

One of the best ways to boost your immune system is to spend time outside where you will be exposed to beneficial bacteria, sunshine for vitamin D and the peace of nature which has been shown to help relax us. See here for more information on nature and mental health.

While you are walking you can forage for wild greens which are just coming up now. Only take what you will use and avoid picking too near the road or the base of trees that look inviting to dogs!

Make sure you know exactly what you are picking, there are several plant identification apps around if you need one, if in doubt do not pick it.

The plants to look out for right now are Nettle and Cleavers.


Nettle really needs no introduction, use gloves to pick the tender new shoots which can be cooked like spinach or as I do add to cabbage, broccoli or any other greens. You can also put nettles in just about any dish that takes greens like spinach or kale.

Nettle Lasagne from Learning

What you will need

  • A jar of bolognaise sauce Or make your own sauce
  • 1lb mince beef (optional)
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 package of 12 no pre-cook lasagne sheets
  • 12 cups fresh nettle
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Gently fry the onion in the olive oil then add the mince and garlic and tomato sauce, simmer for 10 mins or until the mince is cooked.

Wearing gloves cop up the nettles and add to the mince, cook until they are wilted.

Combine the two cheeses in a medium bowl, stirring until well-mixed.

Assembling the lasagne:

  • Layer meat, cheese and lasagne sheets finishing with a layer of cheese sauce.
  • Cover the lasagne with foil and bake in 375°F oven for 45 minutes. You can remove the foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time if you like a crunchier top.
  • Remove from oven – let sit about 15 minutes and then enjoy your nettle lasagne with a big fresh salad!

There are plenty of nettle recipes on the internet from nettle soup to nettle pesto, share your favourite.

Nettle tea:

Put a handful of fresh nettles into a cafetiere pour on boiling water, cover and let it steep0 for 5-15 mins. Plunge and enjoy. You can add any other herbal tea to it, Chamomile or Lemon balm are nice, Sliced lemon (the peel is high in antioxidants) and honey (raw if possible).

If like me, you prefer your herbal brews cold just wait a while for it to cool.

Medicinally nettle is used as a blood tonic, it is very high in vitamin C and minerals including iron and calcium. It has an antihistamine effect and can help seasonal allergies. It stimulates circulation and can help to lower blood pressure. It strengthens natural resistance to infection. It has been shown in one trial to contain a lectin which prevents virus replication. See here.

I am not suggesting that drinking nettle tea will cure or prevent Covid-19 but it is certainly good for us!


Cleavers was once used as a potherb. It was a useful plant in Medieval kitchens because it could be picked in frost or snow. The plant’s hook-like bristles soften when boiled. Its chopped leaves and stem can be made into soups and stews. The tender shoots can be boiled and buttered as a vegetable. (

Medicinally it is used to improve and support the lymphatic system and to promote elimination through the kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin. It is high in flavonoids which are give colour to fruits and vegetables and are needed for our immune system.

It has a long tradition as a spring tonic herb.

It can be added in small amounts to salads. Pick the fresh young tops and chop up well.

Cleavers Pesto

Cleavers makes a surprisingly delicious pesto!  You can make a big batch and freeze it in ice cube trays then transfer to a Ziplock bag when frozen. Simply substitute the cleavers for all or some of the basil in your favourite pesto recipe or try this one.


  • 2 cups fresh cleavers (stems and leaves,) packed
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt


In a food processor, process the cleavers, garlic, nuts, and sea salt until coarsely chopped. Add olive oil and pulse until smooth.

Serve immediately or store in a sealed container or glass jar in the refrigerator.

Keep safe and happy foraging everyone 😀

Fiona Taylor, Medical Herbalist

Calling Horley’s Knitters…!

Knits for Kits and Hearts for Hospitals!

Now that we all have so much extra time on our hands for learning new crafts why not start by knitting a blanket for the Cat’s Protection charity or if you are more skilled then try this pattern for a Love Heart for Warwick Hospital.

Cat’s Protection can’t fundraise or re-home any cats at the moment and require blankets for cats currently in their foster care. Size required is 50 x 50 cm  (20 x 20 in) any pattern or colour. If you can’t knit or have wool to spare please contact Sandra Easton on 07841 493229‬ who is currently busy with her needles! She will also ensure that the blankets get to the local branch.

The hearts will be given to patients who contracted Covid-19 and their families. It is an idea from an ITU nurse, Ms Kirby-Deacon, who works as a sister at the Great Western Hospital to bring comfort to families, who have not been able to see a loved one before they die. See video. One heart is put with the patient who has passed and one given to the grieving family, so ideally the hearts should be knitted in pairs.

it is important to use clean yarn and seal the hearts in a taped bag, such as a freezer bag or bin liner which needs to be time stamped because 72 hours must have elapsed before they are safe to use. These can be left with Jane Huskisson (text or call 07984 685127) who will pass them on to her sister who works at Warwick hospital.

Horley – Your Chance to Help our NHS

Can you sew or donate materials to make NHS Scrubs for Warwick Hospital?

This is a request from Jane Huskisson who writes:

‘My sister works at Warwick hospital.  She is helping gather materials to make PPE. If you have buttons (2-2.5cm), thin elastic and/or thin cotton fabric (cotton sheets are fine) to spare, I will happily take them and get them to my sister.’

Elastic needs to be 1.5-2.5cm wide, cotton fabric to be in light colours for gowns.

In order to contact Jane please call or text 07984 685127.

For information on how to make scrubs for NHS workers see PPE Info.

Warwickshire Scrubbers  is a Facebook Group for sewers and their helpers in Warwickshire creating mainly scrubs, bags and caps for local hospitals.

Also see UK Crafters – Oxfordshire and Central Hub which  was set up in response to the Australian bush fires. Now all attention is focused on the NHS and mainly making laundry bags etc. for Oxford University Trust Hospitals, including the Horton and JR.

Red Lion Takeaway Service

Takeaway service to be trialled for a week 

This week’s Guest beer is Farmers ‘Irish Dexter’ – described as ‘A deep red coloured ale with a malty, sweet flavour and a dry finish’. Delicious!

Dave says:

‘We hope this service has benefit to the general well being of our community in difficult times. We will trial it for a week to judge the response.’

See poster below for information.

Support Your Local Pub!

Red Lion Horley Take Away Service

It’s good to know that in these difficult times of social distancing and self isolation that you can still get a pint of your favourite tipple at your local pub of the year The Red Lion!

They can sell most of their products including draught beers and there’s a 10% discount if you bring your own container!

To get your order in just text or call 07918 670840 during the following hours: Tuesday – Saturday  14.00 – 20.00 and Sunday 12.00 – 18.00. Cheers Nash and Dave!

Coronavirus Outbreak – Neighbourhood Watch Advice

Message from Neighbourhood Watch on coping with the Coronavirus outbreak:

Dear Neighbourhood Watch supporters,

You will all be aware of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Neighbourhood Watch exists to look out for communities across England and Wales and at a time like this we encourage you to consider ways to keep yourself, your loved ones and those in your community safe, particularly the isolated and vulnerable. We are following the advice from the government and encourage you to do the same:

10 ways you, as a Neighbourhood Watch supporter, can protect yourself, your loved ones and your community:

  1. Meet with household members, other relatives, friends and neighbours to discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community and what the needs of each person will be.
  2. If your neighbourhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbours, information, and resources. Alternatively, share phone numbers and email addresses particularly with those who are isolated or vulnerable.
  3. Consider establishing a ‘buddy’ system within your community to ensure everyone stays connected to COVID-19 related news, services and can receive support safely, such as essentials deliveries.
  4. Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.
  5. Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy.
  6. Learn how to self-isolate. Guidance can be found on the NHS website:
  7. Create a list of local organisations that you and your neighbours can contact in the event that one of you need access to information, healthcare services, support, or resources. Consider including organisations that provide mental health or counselling services, food, and other supplies.
  8. Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, neighbours, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
  9. Learn about the emergency operations plan at your child’s school or childcare facility, and your employer’s emergency operations plan.
  10. Practice everyday preventive actions including regular hand washing.
    1. The NHS provides guidance on how to wash hands:
    2. The World Health Organisation provides guidance on basic protective measures:
    3. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance on handwashing for families

Please note: whilst we encourage you to follow advice from UK Government we are also sharing links to organisations such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention an agency which works 24/7 to protect the safety, health, and security of America from threats here and around the world. Some of our key points above have been sourced from:

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention also published (14th February 2020) Interim Guidance for Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Homes and Residential Communities which you may find useful:

Regards and keep well,
Central Support Team at Neighbourhood Watch

Horley Rector to Give Final Service on Sunday 16th

Final Church Service to be given by John Reader on Sunday 16th Feb at 3pm.

John Reader, Rector of the Ironstone Benefice, of which St Etheldreda’s is a member, will be retiring this month and giving his final service in St Etheldreda’s on Sunday February 16th at 3pm.

Tea will be available afterwards in the Old School.

If you are intending to come, in order to give some idea of numbers, please could you let Kate Wythe know by calling 07791 399227 or email It will be ok to just turn up too!

New Yoga Class in Hornton

Want to feel uplifted, more relaxed and positive?

Horley’s very own Kundalini Yoga teacher, Anne Owen, invites you to join her in her new Kundalini Yoga and Meditation sessions which are being held in Hornton Pavilion on Friday afternoons at 2.00.

Anne says: ‘Kundalini Yoga is known as the yoga of awareness. It combines breathing techniques, physical exercises, mantra and meditation into a single practice. Kundalini Yoga works very quickly and most people feel uplifted, more relaxed and positive after a single session. It also makes you feel alive & vibrant as well as encouraging a greater sense of calmness, vitality & purpose in life.

Come along & give it a try – I think you’ll like it!’

To book a place or for more information contact Anne on 07835 086411. £6 per class.

Mats, cushions & blankets provided (feel free to bring your own though). Wear comfy loose clothing and don’t eat a meal 2-3 hours before the class.