Hawthorn Berries Credit: Pixabay.com
Conkers Credit: Pixabay.com
Sloe Berries Credit: Pixabay.com
Red & Black Berries Credit: Pixabay.com
Elderberries Credit: Pixabay.com
Rosehips Credit: Pixabay.com

The benefits of foraging

Foraging isn’t merely about finding free food. “It feeds us on multiple levels,” explains professional forager Robin Harford.

“Why go to all the trouble of foraging when you can get everything in a supermarket?

The answer to that is very simple – “Satisfaction in more ways than means the eyes!” 

Foraging, the age-old practice of gathering wild edible plants, fruits, nuts and herbs, which offers a multitude of benefits from being able to eat them to using them for medicinal purposes, that resonate with both individuals and the environment. A time old tradition, foraging has been around since the dawn of time. Back in the day, our ancestors foraged nearly all of their food  and even made tinctures or remedies to cure many aliments. Up until recently however, hunting and gathering has fallen by the wayside with the introduction of agricultural revolutions, convenience stores not to mention large pharmaceutically companies. Nowadays and especially in the last decade, foraging has made a steady comeback.

Foraging, in simple terms has the following benefits:

  • It helps reconnects and promotes a deeper connection to nature, not only by nourishing the body but also nurturing the soul and strengthens the bond between humanity and the natural world, fostering an appreciation for the Earth’s bountiful offerings.  
  • It helps to improve mental and physical health,
  • It helps to reduce the carbon footprint associated with food transportation and packaging, and promotes sustainability.
  • It provides nutritious food for free.
  • It also encourages people to engage with their local ecosystems, enhancing their understanding of their environment and the changes in the seasons.
  • Beyond its environmental and health advantages, foraging serves as a gateway to cultural heritage and traditional knowledge, preserving the wisdom of indigenous and local communities.
  • There are at least 700 recorded edible wild plants in the UK, which is just mindboggling. 
  • Being outside, helps to break the daily routine, we can all find ourselves in. It also allows quality time with loved ones. Time to unwind and refocus on what’s important in life. 
  • You will learn a new skill.
  • And lastly, foraged foods are often more nutritious and diverse than store-bought produce, they are organically grown, free from pesticides and other harsh chemicals used nowadays in farming and food production.   


What have you got to lose?

If you are thinking of giving foraging ago, Autumn time would be one of the best seasons for novices to learn the ropes. There is much a plenty in the Autumn months. 

We hope the fact sheets in each section, will  give you all the information you need to take you on a journey through the every changing landscape, providing you with valuable information on each of the foods that you might come across. As you venture on your foraging adventures don’t forget to remember the DO’s & DON’T’s which are listed below. Your safety and that of anyone with you is paramount, as well following the ethical practices, and sustainable foraging principles.

Remember – That when foraging, you need to take personal responsibility for yourself, the people you are with (children especially) and your surroundings. If you are in doubt, please don’t pick it, climb it, or eat it. Always consult an expert or GP if you have doubts.  


Foraging Toolkit – What you need to get started

First and foremost: 

  • Clothing: Regardless of the time of year, long sleeves and long trousers are a most have. If you can’t wear them, make sure you have them in your backpack. Also needed are sturdy gloves and boots. 


  • Navigation & Identification: A compass, map, pencil and foraging guide are you next most haves. It would also be very handy to learn what the weather plans to do on the day you have chosen. 


  • Foraging equipment: Once you have identified, you will need to pick your items. Secateurs or scissors will come in handy not to mention something that you can hook high branches with. Once you have picked your item, you will need to carry them. Baskets, plastic boxes with lids or extra carry bags are always good. 

Extra items:

  • Plenty of bottled water to drink, a packed lunch (please remember to take your litter home), snacks for little ones and plenty of sun cream. You will be amazed at how long you will be out there foraging. Time will simply fade away. 

Foraging Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do get permission from the landowner if you are planning on foraging on private land. 
  • Do avoid areas of high contamination such as fields sprayed with pesticides, dog walking, or near to road pollution.
  • Do be cautious about the food/plants are you picking. If in doubt, don’t pick it.
  • Do share you knowledge and experience with others.   
  • Don’t pick endangered species.
  • Don’t pick more than you need. Or dig up roots and take a whole plant home with you. 
  • Don’t disturb habitats and always be respectful of your surroundings. 
  • Don’t enter any Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s) – These are protected sites for a reason.

And finally, DO have fun and enjoy being in the beautiful countryside. 

With all this in mind, grab your walking boots, and pack your backpack and join the world of foraging, as we delve into the enchanting world of discovery, appreciation, and delectable flavours as we embrace the seasonal abundance that nature has to offer.

Foraging by Season

Autumn  Foraging 

Autumn foraging is a captivating journey into the bountiful treasures of nature’s pantry during this transitional season. As the leaves turn from their vibrant greens to warm shades of red and gold, the woods and fields come alive with a cornucopia of edible delights. The keen forager can expect to find an abundance of nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts and chestnuts, apples and even some pears if you are lucky enough to come across them, as well as an array of wild mushrooms.   

The cooler temperatures and fallen leaves also reveal earthly delights such as root vegetables and tubers, if your luck is in, wild carrots and burdocks are ready to be unearthed.

Autumn foraging not only offers a diverse and delicious range of seasonal ingredients, but if offers the forager a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant colours and crisp air of one of the most enchanting seasons, making it a time to connect with nature in a profound and really satisfying way. 

There is nothing finer than picking, preparing, cooking and eating a delicious mouth watering crumble or pie made from freshly picked apples and blackberries or spreading freshly made elderberry or raspberry jam on warm toast. And better still for the adults against us, sipping a freshly made glass of Sloe Gin to wash the crumble down with.

Remember to leave plenty for the wildlife. Autumn months can be hard going on the wildlife like badgers, foxes and small birds. They all feast on these fruits in autumn, and they provide a valuable source of energy and nutrients.

Wild Spices and Herbs to look out for: 

Black Mustard,  Burdock Root, Chamomile, Chickweed, Cleavers (Goosegrass), Crow Garlic, Dandelion, Wild Fennel, Garlic Mustard, Red Clover, Round Leafed Mint, Rock Samphire, Rose Hips, Spearmint, St Johns Wort, Wild Chicory, Wild Marjoram, Wild Mint, Wild Thyme, Winter Cress, Yarrow.

Safe leaves to eat:

Common Comfrey, Common Sorrel, Fat Hen, Heather Flowers, Nettle, Poppy Seeds, Sheep’s Sorrel, Silverweed, Wild Cabbage, Wood Sorrel (in moderation).

Click on the Fact sheets below to find out more about each plant: (Coming soon)

Blackberries    Cranberries     Elderberries

Wild Strawberries                   Rowan Berries

Sloe Berries                              Hawthorn Berries

Wild Damsons                          Rosehips

Hazelnuts                                  Walnuts

Sweet Chestnuts                      Beechnuts

Autumn Foraging Recipes 

Winter Foraging

Venturing out into the wild during the cold and damp winter may seem like a daunting task, even for the keenest of foragers. And you might even be wondering whether there is much to be had. But be rest assured there is plenty a foot in the countryside. If you pay particular attention you will find more than just foraged foods to provide a meal or two. The winter months offer an opportunity to appreciate and embrace the wintery scenery, to observe the subtleties of a winter’s landscape and take wonder at how hidden foods can grow amidst the frost and cold. A true chance to slow down and unwind while deepening your connection with the nature.  

Despite the landscape giving the appearance of being baron, foragers can still find plenty of edibles, from the remaining Sloe and Rowan berries to the vitamin-rich rosehips to the remaining hardy greens, that lurk underneath the fallen leaves. These wild edibles remind us of the abundance and resourcefulness of the natural world.

As you venture on your foraging adventures don’t forget to remember the DO’s & DON’T’s which are listed above. The winter landscape can be a tough and harsh environment. Your safety and that of anyone with you is paramount, as well following the ethical practices, and sustainable foraging principles. And remember, above all, wear warm and fluffy socks.
Remember to leave plenty for the wildlife. Winter months can be hard going on the wildlife like badgers, foxes and small birds. 

Wild Spices and Herbs to look out for: 

Black Mustard, Chickweed,  Chives, Cleavers (Goosegrass Flowers), Cow Parsley, Crow Garlic, Dandelion, Wild Garlic, Winter Cress,  Yarrow.

Safe leaves to eat:

Alexanders, Burdock Leaves, Common Mallow, Common Sorrel,  Common Sorrel, Dandelion Leaves, Dandelion Root, Fat Hen, Ground Elder, Hogweed, Hop Shoots, Nettle, Perennial Wall Rocket, Garden Primroses, Sheep’s Sorrel, Sweet Cicely, Sweet Violet, Watercress,  Wood Sorrel (in moderation),Wild Cabbage

Click on the Fact sheets below to find out more about each plant: (Coming soon)

Sloe Berries               Rowan Berries

Rosehips                    Beechnuts  

Hazelnuts                  Sweet Chestnuts                             

Winter Foraging Recipes 

Spring Foraging


Spring Foraging Recipes

Summer Foraging


Summer Foraging Recipes