What is foraging?


Wild foraging or 'wild foray' is a fancy way of saying 'finding food for free'. In fact, we usually refer to animal eating habits  as 'foraging'; where they browse, search and graze the land for their daily food intake.

As human beings we would spend time searching the wild landscape for wild food that could be there one day, and gone the next. Its seasonal!

Before you set off, there are Golden  Rules to follow to make the most of your experience, or, a new lifestyle...

Lawful foraging

1. You are able to lawfully forage and take the four Fs - Foliage, Flowers, Fruit, Fungi of WILD plants...

2. on private land with landowner  permission (by asking or paying a licence) and on Common Land

3. Never take from cultivated crop plants

4. You may NOT sell produce taken from the above (The Wildlife and Countryside Act and Theft Act)

5.You may not take rare plants or uproot

6. On various public spaces - such as commons, heathland, parks, Open Access landscape - there are by-laws stating picking restrictions on notice boards

Wild strawberries1.jpg

Safety Rules of Foraging

1. If you cannot identify it do not eat it! Don't just rely on pictoral images to confirm a plant. Use an ID guide, or better, someone who can identify

2. Avoid foraging in areas which may have been sprayed by insecticide, weedkiller, near dog fouling areas or road verges 

3. Wash your foraged foods before you eat them

4. Taste a small amount to begin, to test sensitivity

Survival of the Plant

1. Do not remove the entirety of the plant - berries, leaves, nuts, roots. You may pick

1 into 20 of a plant (very small quantities) - the plant must be able to regrow and maintain its health

2. Use a sharp knife (rather than tearing or ripping the plant) - except with fungi which have specific harvesting methods

3. Never remove the flowers or seeds of annual plants - it relies on itself to survive

4. Do not damage or disturb the surrounding vegetation where you harvest

5. Richard Mabey recommends adhering to the Code of Conduct which has been created and published by the Botanical Society of the British Isles - for the "enjoyment of wild plants" 


Photo: Jim Johnston