Hazel catkins are a sure sign that spring is in progress. The yellow catkins are the male flowers, dangling and spreading their pollen into the drifting winds. It is always worth carrying with you a hand lens so that you can take a look at the much smaller, red female flowers which catch the scattered pollen on sticky red tufts
For centuries, hazel has been grown for its wood using coppicing – a traditional method that involves cutting trees to ground level and allowing them to re-grow and produce multiple long, strong stems. The hazel catkin is often called lambs tails due to their looking a lot like a lamb’s tail and they also appear during the lambing season. Traditionally, pollarded hazel shoots were used for lambing pens!