An abundance of blackberries has been reported to be growing in Sussex because of the wet winter followed by weeks of sunshine.

A bumper crop is being recorded across the country, but Sussex has been singled out by a conservation group as being a location where copious quantities of the fruit had grown.

And it's not just blackberries, as unusually high numbers of elderberries, rowanberries and sloes have also thrived in the conditions.

Increasing numbers of people are heading to woodlands and nature reserves to pick the bumper early crop for themselves.

But the fruit is also providing much needed nourishment for migrating birds and foraging creatures such as mice and voles.

The Woodland Trust had not expected either an early appearance or great quantities of blackberries because of an abundant crop last year.

Kate Lewthwaite, project manager of the Woodland Trust's Nature's Calendar project which provides a snapshot of early fruiting across the country based on data provided by the public, said it was estimated 300 sightings of blackberries had been made compared to a total of 49 reported by the end of July last year.

She said: "The number and spread of early records received this summer for a number of fruiting species is unusual, particularly because last year's crop was also so abundant.

"The sheer amount of rainfall over large parts of the country during the winter may well have contributed to this crop, particularly with the prolonged sunshine during the spring and summer."

Dr Lewthwaite added that if the weather this week, as expected, is warm and sunny, Britain will be in for a "spectacular" autumn.

Jess Price, conservation officer at Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: "There is an absolute abundance of blackberries, hawthorn fruits, elderberries, rosehips and sloes - as well as damsons, plums and apples."

However she urged the public to take only modest amounts saying: "Wildlife needs it as well."