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http://www.woodlands.co.uk Natural dye, how to dye. Dyeing with natural dyes. The madder plant (Rubia tinctoria) is a useful root for dyeing, producing a deep red colour. The roots are brown but after soaking and simmering become dark red and the shades of colour can then softened using modifiers such as wood ash water. In a woodland setting, Jennie James from the East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership (ESAMP) shows what these plants look like and discusses how to use them, along with the use of iron pyrites. She also looks at the importance of temperature in dyeing. The last of our three programmes on dyeing in woodlands using plants and barks, such as woad, weld, and alder buckthorn.