Every child has been warned to stay away and every gardener has been stung. It is one of the hazards of life. The good things about nettles are that you can eat the young leaves in soup and even as a spinach substitute. Try a bed of steamed nettles topped with a poached egg.
Nettles provide one of the primary food sources for caterpillars of the comma, tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies.
They are also very rich in nitrogen so can be used to make a liquid feed. Put chopped nettles into a container, cover with water and chuck in a couple of bricks to stop them floating. After 3-4 weeks you will have a very smelly liquid that, diluted 1:10 in water will work as a great plant food.