Browse Category by Foraging
Blog, Events, Foraging, hay festival, Uncategorized

Hay Festival

Image via The Telegraph
Image via The Telegraph


Now then, I know 10 am might sound early but think of me…I’ll have been up all night panicking so I’ll need to see friendly faces. Please come and give me and Lizzie a warm welcome! She’ll be drawing, live, and you’ll see the drawing come to life on a gigantic screen. I’ll be telling you all about how to eat your garden before the slugs can get to it.

Blog, Books, Foraging, General, Nature, Uncategorized

The Garden Forager

It’s 26th March which means it’s publication date for this beautiful book!

Illustrated by the divine Lizzie Harper, you can order from me directly or

from your local independent bookshop.  There are lots of events coming up

all around the country, so do subscribe to my site for regular updates.

See you soon!

Blog, Events, Foraging, Sweets

Crickhowell Walking Festival on 1st March

….is sold out, although there are lots of other lovely walks during the festival. Have a look here!

Incidentally, I’ll be making Kendal mintcake for the event, which I’m hoping Jules at Black Mountain Gold will dip in chocolate. It’s highly likely that, as usual, I’ll make too much, and it’s also highly likely that some of the excess will be available at both Jules’ place and at Book-ish, so if you’re in town, have a mooch around both shops and pick some up!

Blog, Books, Events, Foraging, General, Nature, Photos, Uncategorized

Posh Foraging all over the UK


I have been VERY slack at posting info here (slaps wrist) but all that is about to change. There’s so much going on this year that I’m going to make a concerted effort to post here regularly so that anyone who is interested can see what I’m up to and maybe even come along to a forage somewhere!


The first bit of exciting news is The Hedgerow Handbook is released, in France, in French, on June 4th. The publisher is Larousse, which makes the whole thing even more of a thrill for me, because I still treasure a heavy yellow and black volume, The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, which I loved and a kid and which is still a favourite.

More news tomorrow. Until then…au revoir!

Blog, Foraging, Photos

Scary Monsters and Super Ceps

‘You can’t mess around with wild mushrooms. Some of them can virtually kill you even if you look at them’.


I’m afraid to say that my own feeling about untamed fungi wasn’t far away from the quote, above, overheard on one of my own (wild plant) foraging walks. But recently I decided it was about time to dispel all this nonsense and get some proper information.

In his book ‘Outliers’, Malcolm Gladwell posits the theory that it takes 10,000 hours of practise to become an expert in a subject, on top of a natural aptitude for that subject in the first place. Well, then, there can be no better way to find out about the vast, complex subject of wild fungi than to go to someone who trod down that magic number of hours under the soles of his hiking boots long ago….a man who travels to obscure places to take part in festivals devoted to morels, for example, and who can talk about Alice in Wonderland, obscure methods of catching reindeer and why Father Christmas insist on coming down the chimney rather than simply walking through the front door….and all of this related to fungi *

Daniel Butler can accommodate a relatively limited number of keen fungi foragers during the weeks when the wild mushroom harvest is at its best; if the current mellow autumn inspires you to want to know more, contact him now (details below) but if the remaining days are all taken then don’t hesitate to book for next year. I had one of the most inspiring days ever with Dan and his partner, Helen (who is also an expert’s expert in the subject).

Like many Brits, I was a bit scared of wild mushrooms, alarmed from an early age by well-meaning parents to the point where I ALMOST believed that the poisonous ones could kill you if you so much as looked at them. Spending time on this foray, however, has shown me that mushrooms are to be respected and enjoyed for their beauty, variety and, of course, deliciousness, rather than feared.
The only slight downside is that my daily dog walks are now taking twice the time since I’m now intent in my search for porcini, hedgehog mushrooms, honey fungus, violet deceivers and, above all, the delectable, almost floral-flavoured chanterelles!

The day itself is almost ridiculously good value for money. We worked out that it would have cost us more to actually purchase the mushrooms in a shop than to find them ourselves, and as well as the fungi we also enjoyed
Expert advice from both Dan and. Helen, a walk in the magical countryside of mid Wales, a 3-course fungi- based meal at their home (including lashings of wine, home-made sourdough bread, and a scrummy fruit crumble), a demonstration on how to preserve fungi, a taste-testing of all the various types of fungi that we found, and a choice of either a pack of beautifully-produced fungi ID cards or a specialist mushroom knife. Above all, though, was the opportunity to be able to ask Dan and Helen anything at all to do with mushrooms…..

*to find out what the heck I’m on about you’ll have to make a trip to Rhayader…


Daniel holding forth about the fly agaric…a fairy-tale appearance but NOT for your risotto


Lots of honey fungus, which turns out to be a favourite at the mushroom tasting despite some initial reservations. Something this common can’t taste that good, can it? Oh yes it can!


Christina, thrilled to find tasty hedgehog mushrooms


Whoah! The sharp-eyed French Canadian foragers found a shedload of chanterelles….yum! (My personal favourite)


Sarah has a list of 50 things to do during the 2 years surrounding a big-ish birthday. Finding out about fungi is on that list…and she found the best-looking porcini!


Helen dishing up lunch…


Lessons in preserving fungi…


A small selection of what we found

And finally…cheers!


Blog, Events, Foraging, General, Photos

Forgotten Landscapes foraging at the Abergavenny Food Festival

Enjoying a cup of coffee in the backstage bit of the Abergavenny Food festival, got chatting to a girl called Denise, who proved to be the most widely-read food blogger in Wales. The next day she came along to the forage at Clydach Gorge and subsequently wrote this fab piece. She is the only person who has even guessed, pretty much outright, the secret ingredient in the chocolate truffles that I sometimes make!
The pics on my page here are by the amazing Julia Horton-Powdrill who founded the Really Wild festival in Pembrokeshire (



The Clydach fig tree…how did it get there?


An interesting tree…


Blog, Foraging

Elderberry Trance?

Picked a considerable amount of elderberries a couple of days ago. The repetitive action of stripping the berries from the stalks would have been good exercise in my piano-plating days; it’s a twiddly, fiddly process, staining the fingers a pale black. Not grey. After a while, you don’t really need to look at what you’re doing. Sitting at the table in the garden I found myself gazing at the leaves of a birch tree, backlit by the gathering sunset, and had the vague notion that I didn’t know who I was, or when…I wondered idly if this might be some kind of trance, induced by the elderberries, always something of a mysterious fruit…and the fact that people have performed this simple action for generations….Practitioners of yoga believe that the body holds a memory of actions repeated, hence the power in all that bending and stretching and mindful breathing. Maybe twiddling the elderberries works in the same way…the thought made me notice my own breathing, then, and I realised the sun had almost set and it was COLD!


Blog, Foraging, Photos

Roll me over…


Amazing what you find when you pick up a stick for the dog! Finding s four-leafed clover is always a thrill, but the one on the left here actually has 6 leaves. But why do we think they’re lucky? Is it because they’re rare? And by the way, you can eat clover! Right now is a good time for the flowers; the optimum temperature for clover nectar to taste divine is 70 degrees c. The bees know all about this. Pinch a few of the red ones, pull off the petals and make into a cordial, wine, pop into home-made icecreams of sorbets or just nibble.

Blog, Foraging, Photos

Sprout Hunting



The strange things you find when you go Foraging….
I have Rachael Phillips to thank for chivvying me along with this website. In fact she did all the hard work, and all I gave her in return was a perfect supermarket sprout (2 actually) found whilst foraging at the Forgotten Landscapes project at the Clydach Gorge. You can find Rachael at