Holly and ivy can be found all over our New Mills hedgerows and woodlands, some woudl even say it’s teh ivy that is holding New Mills together.
Both plants are evergreen which led to beliefs that they were magical; in pagan times, they were used in winter festivals as a symbol of new life to come.
Christian belief later linked the holly’s spikes to Jesus’ crown of thorns and the berries to blood. Those berries provide important food for birds – mistle thrushes (common around New Mills) are known to guard holly bushes. Ivy also provides berries for birds as well as shelter in its foliage.
It’s often seen cloaking trees – but isn’t a parasitic plant so does them no harm. Traditionally holly was associated with masculinity and ivy with femininity; but interestingly it’s only female hollies that have the distinctive red berries!