The Go Wild Go West blog

Giant Hogweed

Nobody likes a party-pooper…. With everyone out enjoying walking, or swimming along our local rivers, lakes, and canals it’s worth being aware of one particular pooper; Giant Hogweed.

What is Giant Hogweed?

Not to be confused with Common Hogweed which is very common and totally harmless, Giant Hogweed is a beast of a plant. It grows anywhere from 1 meter to 6 meters tall! It has very high levels of toxins in the sap, and any contact may give you severe phototoxic burns. These burns can cause problems for years.

When you’re out adventuring on the river banks, it’s best to avoid Giant Hogweed. The flowers look a little like cow parsley but the leaves are very different. It also has chunky, bright green stems often with purple/red spots or blotches.

We’ve got numerous poisonous plants in the UK including fox gloves, hemlock, and bluebells but Giant Hogweed seems to be a lesser known one.

Find out more information from the Woodland Trust here.

But as long as you’re aware of it’s present, don’t let Giant Hogweed put you off exploring our beautiful river banks in Somerset and Devon.

Play games on the stream

Streams are great places for family adventures. Have a go at building a raft, adventuring up stream, and building a dam. Or have fun with our Outdoor Adventure Guide; Wet & Wild.