The sun didn’t shine, but the temperature was perfect for an introduction to foraging walk that was short in distance, but long in time – there was so much to talk about! Before setting off, all the guests were served a couple of mystery drinks made from locally foraged fruit with the promise that they would be informed later of the ingredients. In addition, there were small cakes and enhanced chocolate. This last treat didn’t quite turn out as planned, but chocolate is chocolate and it was well received.
Aided by the newly created AP wand and a bell, the would-be foragers were directed to a variety of flowers, fruit, leaves, nuts and roots (but not fungi!) that are edible to a greater or lesser degree, as well as some poisonous plants to avoid. As a point of interest, it is worth noticing that where roots are concerned, you must obtain the permission of the land owner before digging up roots – even dandelions. After all, how would you like it if someone started helping themselves to the contents of your garden? The circular walk took in a number of the green spaces with which this area is blessed, and encompassed ‘hedgerow’ as well as ‘urban’ foraging. Some of the attendees had tried their hand at creating food and drink from the wild before, and were able to share their experiences.
It was quite a surprise to realise that 3 hours had elapsed by the time we returned to our starting point on Winn’s Common. The truism that time flies when you are having fun certainly applied here. There were a few interactions with the general public, one from a dog walker who had never noticed a particular tree despite passing it every day and another with a woman who probably wondered why we were hovering round her front garden, scrutinising her yard. There was also a couple who would have joined us if only they hadn’t already just completed their Sunday constitutional. The walk wended its way back through the suburban streets to find the elusive salad ingredient that is more common than you might realise, but which had been missed on the way out by virtue of having been foraged beforehand by persons unknown. By the time we had said our farewells on Winn’s Common it was even later, but it didn’t matter, as 16 of us went home with plenty of food for thought – plus a plant list, suggested reading, leaflets of coming events, souvenir bookmarks and in some cases, photographs for later identification.