So in true permaculture style I've decided to suck it up and turn the problem into a solution. Nettle soup to be precise. I found a couple of recipes, both looked similar, although one suggested putting the nettles in just for the last minute and the other putting them in for 15 minutes. I went for the latter. You can see the recipe here.
It was very quick to make. Onion, carrot, potato and some stock then the nettles. A little creme fraiche and chilli sauce at the end (I didn't have tabasco). About 25 minutes all together. The stalks blended very easily and the soup had a good texture.
Really good! The flavour was similar to watercress with a slight spicy, smoky edge, but no hint of a sting. It was much more filling than I expected. I would definitely make it again and I think it keeps well in the freezer too.
Looks like the patch is staying.