I started foraging last year and absolutely love it. I’m writing this post hoping to inspire others to forage too.
Firstly l look on the internet to find somewhere that I am allowed to forage.
There are important guidelines for foraging that I follow. I find the Woodland Trust Foraging Guidelines invaluable. Check them out for yourself if your thinking of having a go;
I then check the weather and dress accordingly. My favourite way to check is by using the BBC weather website because I find it the most reliable forecast;
I like to wear walking boots when I forage because I often walk off the beaten track. I particularly love to pick my way through woods and walk beside river banks and the sea.
In very warm weather I like to put on my walking sandals. My sandals are made by Earth Spirit and I wear this brand because they are extremely comfortable, robust, and have a great grip.
This link gives you an idea what they look like;
Despite the weather forecast I keep my rain mac handy because of the changeable British weather. When I forage I need to use both of my hands so carrying an umbrella is not practical.
When I finish foraging I often look down and see that I have muddy trouser bottoms. For this reason I don’t wear my best clothes foraging. Another reason for me not to get dressed up is because my sleeves often get snagged on thorns.
Packing my Backpack
Filling up my backpack I ensure I leave enough room for my herbal bounty.
I don’t include everything but the kitchen sink because a heavy backpack makes my shoulders ache.
I take small freezer or food bags with me so that I can separate each herb that I collect. I take them back out again when I get home to prepare them.
When I place the herbs inside the bag I stick on a label and write the herbs name on it. Some days I collect several different herbs so this makes them easily recognisable.
I take a couple of books with me to help me to identify the herbs. “Hedgerow Medicine” and “Wayside Medicine” books by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal are very useful to me.
These books include photographs of the herbs. From these pictures of the herbs flowers, leaves or fruits I can easily identify them. I enjoy reading about the herbs history, uses, and suggested preparations.
I also print and take the Woodland Trust’s monthly foraging tips with me. They do a list of herbs to forage each month. This is their February link;
If I took anymore reference material with me than this my backpack would be too heavy.
I pack my gardening gloves because of the sharp thorns that I encounter.
I take wet wipes with me because they are handy to remove sticky berry juice from my hands. Some berries are so ripe that when I give them a slight squeeze their juice spurts everywhere.
My first aid remedy for stained clothes is immediately giving the stain a vigorous rub with a wet wipe. This action removes most of the damage. Then as soon as I get home I spray what is left with Vanish and wash the clothes.
I also take secateurs because I find some of the plant stalks and branches can be very tough.
I don’t take anything with me to dig up roots because this is not allowed without the landowners permission.
Being environmentally friendly is very important to me. Therefore I only forage enough for my personal use and ensure that plenty is left behind for the wildlife.
Herbs are so beautiful and I feel that it would be a crying shame to remove them all from the landscape.
When night falls
I get carried away sometimes and the dark rolls in before I realise.
For this reason I carry a wind up torch with me. I use the wind up variety so that I don’t need to worry about my batteries running out. My night vision is very poor therefore carrying a torch is a necessity for me.
Food and drink
I like to take a bottle of water with me. Sometimes I take a small flask of herbal tea if it feels particularly cold outside.
I take a health bar with me because it gives me a natural burst of energy when I need it. Nakd or Frusli bars are my personal favourites.
Finally I ensure that I take my rubbish home with me. I hate to see natural beauty spoiled by litter.
I don’t litter for the following reasons;
- Its unsightly
- May cause damage to the wildlife
- Harms the environment because most of the litter I see is not biodegradable.
My favourite places to forage include National Trust sites. Most of their places support foraging.
I also have a love of history and the National Trust combines my love of history and foraging perfectly. I particularly love to visit their Tudor properties and some of their gardens and woodlands are amazing.
Here is a link to their foraging guidelines;
I like to visit National Trust sites as often as I can. Consequently I find that their annual membership saves me a lot of money when compared to paying for each visit seperately.
Be happy, healthy, and go have some fun!
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