Foraging has been popular for some years now, with enthusiasm for gathering food from wild and natural places only increasing as we look to reduce our plastic waste and live more sustainably.
Here is our pick of the best foraging courses across Britain to help you learn the skills to get started safely.
What is foraging?
Foraging is the activity of finding, gathering and harvesting wild foods – for free. It’s a great way to stay active and spend time outdoors connecting with nature and learn more about where your food comes from.
There is a wide variety of food you can forage for in Britain, including nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and more – read our monthly foraging guide to find out what’s in season each month.
Foraging courses with Robin Harford, various locations
Robin Harford has often been in the foraging spotlight, and he is creator of the UK’s leading wild food site Eatweeds.co.uk. He runs courses countrywide, with varying accommodating prices.
The courses teach people how to identify a minimum of 20 edible plants, how to cook and prepare them, how to forage sustainably, as well as learning different plant stories, their nutritional values, their folklore, mystery and history. www.foragingcourses.com
Wild Food UK, various locations
Wild Food UK travel all around the country to hold their foraging courses, and can even tailor trips to suit you. Courses take place in a range of places, including Edinburgh, Cardiff, Kent, Devon, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. Wild Food UK claim that their best courses take place in the Autumn, as it is then that the biggest variety of species are in season. www.wildfooduk.com/foraging-trips
Chanterelle / girolle (Cantharellus cibarius) edible mushrooms on the forest floor in autumn woodland. (Photo by: Arterra/UIG via Getty Images)
Taste the Wild, Yorkshire
Taste the Wild offers one and two day Coastal Foraging & Fishing Courses that scour the rocky coast of North Yorkshire or the shores of Cumbria. The course helps foragers to find edible plants, seaweed and shellfish, searching in pools and gullies. They also offer Wild Food, Foraging & Cooking Courses to suit the landlubber. tastethewild.co.uk
Sloe berries on blackthorn (Getty)
Fat Hen, Cornwall
Professional forager, ecologist and cook, Caroline Davey runs cookery courses known for indulgence. Their Wild Food Cycling Days sound particularly exciting, with on and off-road terrain providing the harvesting site and cycle trail. A 3 course wild lunch is offered on the beach if the weather is good, or under shelter if not. www.fathen.org
Welsh Bass Guide, Wales
Fishing and foraging Wales offers the opportunity to fish and forage, with guided bass lure angling, foraging and accommodation on the Welsh coast . You are then given a chance to enjoy what you have foraged by having the goods cooked for you, which are paired with fresh local produce. www.welshbassguide.co.uk
Truffle hunting, Dorset
This course is a bit more expensive than some, but then its treasures are more highly prized. Learn about truffles with an introductory talk before hunting with trained truffle-hunting dogs in a secret location in Dorset woodland. Hunters then sample their finds over afternoon tea. www.englishtruffles.co.uk
A haul of edible mushrooms (Getty)
The Secret Sunday Mushroom Club, various
The Secret Sunday Mushroom Club provides the forager with an organized hunt for mushrooms, over five Sundays during the peak of the autumn mushroom season. You have to be a member to find out each location, details of which are only released a couple of days beforehand, so that the organisers can determine which ground has the richest pickings. thewildsideoflife.co.uk
Tasty recipes to make using foraging finds:
Woodland Ways Bushcraft & Survival, various
Held near Appleton in Oxford, these seasonal hands-on courses teach flora identification, how to harvest sustainably and then how to prepare the ingredients. There are regular tasting sessions and the opportunity to cook the ingredients yourself – including cooking game around the camp fire – a choice usually from rabbit, pigeon, partridge, pheasant and trout. www.woodland-ways.co.uk
Wild Food School with Marcus Harrison, various
This school offers flexible courses with a thorough approach to identifying, preparing and cooking edible wild plants. The courses are based in Lostwithiel in Cornwall and are guided, by season, with Marcus Harrison’s expert knowledge of botanics which provides an academic backdrop. Regular courses of varying length are available, while off-schedule courses can be tailored to individual groups. wildfoodschool.co.uk
Original Outdoors, North Wales
Original Outdoors run foraging courses as well as food walks, which follows a walk through fields, woodlands and along tracks, depending on what’s in season. Most courses will consist of a short walk with an instructor, who will point out interesting plants along the way. You will also be shown how to prepare the food that you gather, and how to spot the same foods near your home. originaloutdoors.co.uk/foraging-course-north-wales