Foraging Tips for Beginners

I started foraging last year and absolutely love it. I’m writing this post hoping to inspire others to forage too.

Foraging Guidelines

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;

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/things-to-do/foraging/foraging-guidelines/

Weather

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;

https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather

Clothing

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;

Earth Spirit Sandals at Amazon

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.

Labelling

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.

Reference material

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.

Buy these books at Wordery

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;

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2018/02/foraging-in-february/

If I took anymore reference material with me than this my backpack would be too heavy.

Protection

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.

Cutting

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.

Very Important

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.

National Trust

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;

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/news/our-position-on-foraging-for-wild-food

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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2 Replies to “Foraging Tips for Beginners”

  1. Oh wow! I had no idea you couldn’t just forage anywhere but had to be allowed! I would have just gone into the park and started picking, but now I know how to do it properly. Thank-you for sharing these tips 💖 Time to me to invest in some proper gardening gloves 🌱

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