A HORRIFIED mum has spoken out to warn others after her son suffered nasty injuries on a walk through local woodland.

Nicky Thomas said she was walking with ten-year-old William through Owley Woods in Weaverham, an activity he's enjoyed many times before, where came into contact with Hogweed, which is one of the most poisonous plants in the UK.

Nicky said: "There’s a challenging small climb within the woods, known locally by children which has been used for years.

"Unbeknown to us, although the climb pathway is clear, hogweed surrounds the surrounding pathway and is prevalent through the woods.

"Hogweed is a horrifically poisonous plant that can cause agonizing pain, including massive blisters, hives, and extreme itching.

"Contact with the sap in the plant, containing a chemical, works by preventing the skin from protecting itself from sunlight, which can result in severe sunburn and scarring and even - if it comes into contact with the eyes - blindness."

Over the course of the last nine days, Nicky's son has had to make four visits to hospital, including taking a course of steroids. She wants to warn other local walkers of the dangers posed by the plant and of the potential long term effects of the damage caused.

She added: "My son's had three GP visits and four to hospital, requiring the following treatment.

Oral steroids, antibiotics, ongoing steroid cream and antihistamine. The scaring could last for years and due to the plant causing photosynthesis, his hand must be covered with sunblock for the next five years.

"If not, the sunlight could trigger severe sunburn in that area.

"Doctors advise anyone affected to cover the affected area, and wash it with soap and water Immediately.

"In the past children have been hospitalised and have suffered third-degree burns. Total recovery from the pain can take weeks.

"I desperately want to warn others of the dangers of this poisonous plant."

Hogweed and the non-native Giant variety are both considered potentially harmful when they come in to contact with human skin, with the recent warm weather likely to have enabled them to thrive.