I TOOK a wander down Lime Tree Walk to Alloa Harbour last week, before retracing my steps and heading through the nearby skate park and onwards to Alloa Tower.

I am always continually amazed at the abundance of wild flora and fauna in our towns, and Alloa is no exception.

Down at the harbour, dazzling hawthorns were in full bloom, having exploded into a riot of white blossom.

The amount of blossom seems to vary greatly between individual hawthorns – some can be totally covered in white blooms, others only partially so.

Known as the May-tree or whitethorn in some parts of the country, hawthorn has for many centuries been widely used by farmers as hedging to secure their fields and mark boundaries.

The name hawthorn originates from the Anglo- Saxon ‘hagathorn’, where ‘haga’ means hedge. It is also a tree (or bush) much shrouded in superstition.

It is said, for example, that taking blossom covered branches into a house will bring bad luck. Why so? Well, probably because the stale smell of the flowers resembles the odour of decaying flesh.

Out over the inner Forth estuary, herring gulls spiralled in the air and several mute swans bobbed in the water.

On my return journey through the nearby park, a song thrush busied itself collecting worms and other invertebrates for its nest full of hungry chicks.

On reaching the grounds of Alloa Tower, it was great to see that a good proportion of the surrounding lawn had deliberately been left to grow wild, enabling wildflowers such as cuckoo flower to prosper, which in turn benefits pollinating insects.

If you give nature just half-chance, then it will thrive, making our urban areas much better and healthier places in which to live.