Go wild in the country this year. Whether you’re gathering nuts in May, or following ancient coastal footpaths for samphire, in recent years wild food and foraging courses have really taken off and they are proving a great hit as a holiday activity for residents and holidaymakers alike. Whether you are an individual looking to go on a foraging walk, or if you want to treat your family and friends to a private event, there’s something for everybody.
Foraging courses can take the form of workshops at local Food Festivals, or whole day foraging courses where you end up cooking and eating the wild food you find. There are even 2-day courses with accommodation available.
Below is a great list of some Cornwall individuals and companies regularly hosting wild food events and helping people to learn how to forage, ranging from a few hours to a full weekend course.
The Fat Hen
Seen in the past across Cornwall, including at the Food Festivals at Watergate Bay and the Royal Cornwall Show, Caroline Davey has many years’ experience of foraging for food for herself and professionally. Running workshops, demonstrations and 1-day foraging courses, you can even stay in one of her on-site self-contained holiday homes.
Offers: Wild food weekends; Forage, Cook & Feast Days; Wild Food Cycling Days; Seaweed Foraging Days; Foraging Walks.
- Address: Gwenmenhir, Boscawen-noon Farm, St Buryan, Penzance, Cornwall, TR19 6EH
- Website: www.fathen.org/
Cornwall Wild Food
Matt offers many foraging courses throughout the year – including private bookings, where child-friendly and dog-accessible requirements are accommodated. Entry level foraging shows you how to identify and forage for easily identifiable and “safe” plants and more. Coastal foraging sessions are spent gathering seaweed on the beaches. For more experienced foragers there’s a comprehensive foraging course that takes you on the search for harder to spot and more unique and unusual plants.
Most foraging is undertaken in the Portreath area on the north coast, or Falmouth on the south coast. 2016 prices are £25/adult.
- Address: Truro, Cornwall
- Website: http://www.cornishwildfood.co.uk/
Wild Walks South West
Rachel Lambert runs foraging walks and courses so you can learn about wild food and what’s safe to eat. Rachel published her new book in June 2016 called “Seaweed Foraging in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly”, containing 104 pages of information and recipes. Most of the courses and wild food walks are for three hours and are offered in Cornwall, on the Isles of Scilly and even at Bristol. You can even book a group activity of foraging, cooking and dining, at your own venue/home or holiday home.
- Address: Cornwall Cottage, Leskinnick Place, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 2EZ.
- Website: http://wildwalks-southwest.co.uk/
Wild Food School
Wild Food School run foraging courses with Marcus Harrison, who has nearly 40 years’ experience and is an author of many foraging cookbooks. There are half-day, 1-day and 2-day foraging courses on offer, where you’ll learn to name and identify more than 50 edible wild food plants costing approximately £40, £80 and £120. If you’re looking for a more educational/structured learning experience, rather than a “ramble around for a bit picking some stuff up and having a jolly time”, then this would probably be the route to investigate further.
- Address: Lostwithiel, Cornwall
- Website: http://www.countrylovers.co.uk/
The Family Foraging Kitchen
Based on the borders of Cornwall and Devon, the foraging walks straddle the border. Family Foraging Kitchen is a social enterprise providing wild food education through foraging walks, cookery classes and courses – there are even some free foraging walks throughout the year. Many of the sessions cost ~£20. Walks include land/field based, as well as cliff and coastal foraging walks.
They run a Wild Food School, which is a monthly session for children, aimed at those who are home-schooled.
- Address: Millpool, Cornwall
- Website: http://www.familyforagingkitchen.co.uk/
Fish & Forage
As seen on ITV’s Hungry Sailors, with Dick Strawbridge and James Strawbridge, fish and forage run foraging courses based around fishing. Some of their courses are introductions to fishing from land or from a boat – and some of their courses are foraging for food around the waterways and for foods to complement any fish caught.
The main focus is on fishing, rather than foraging, so foraging courses are run less frequently than others.
- Address: 39 Cross Street, Camborne, Cornwall, TR14 8ES
- Website: http://fishandforage.co.uk/
As new courses and wild walks become available, I’ll update this list. Happy foraging!
Go It Alone!
If you simply want to go for a ramble on your own, to make your own wild food discoveries, then there are plenty of foraging apps and books available, which you can find out about here: Wild Food and Foraging Apps