Royston, Buntingford & South Cambridgeshire

Week 16 – Foraging for fun

Hello and welcome to Week 16 of our Giving Tuesday campaign.

If this is your first visit to us, take some time to look back through previous week’s activities. We’ve been running our Giving Tuesdays campaign since April 7th and there are lots to see and do! We’ve shared a new activity every week of lockdown for everyone to take part in.

We’ve worked really hard finding lots of fun and interesting things for you to do and find out about, so please feel free to share the links with your friends and family.

If you’re a regular visitor, welcome back! Have you taken part in any of the creative activities? If so, we’d love to see your makes. Send them to us via admin@hsrsc.org.uk, or you could post them on our Facebook page. We’d love to see what you and your children have enjoyed the most!

OK, let’s move on to this week’s activity which is all about foraging.

Foraging for fun

Hurrah, it’s the summer holidays! How unusual to have the children at home all day every day…oh, wait a minute…

Actually, now is the perfect time to discover a new hobby – one that gets you and your family out in the fresh air and gives you the opportunity to learn about your local environment: foraging.

Foraging is the act of gathering wild food – for free! It’s also an exciting chance to find what grows near to where you live – you will be amazed about how many edible things there are to find.

Eating with the seasons (that means eating what’s growing naturally for the time of year) is great for so many reasons. Foods that occur in the wild are full of nutrients that mass-produced foods don’t have. And eating what’s in season is better for the environment than unseasonal foods that require excessive amounts of water or heat to grow.

There are lots of places to go foraging: woodlands, meadows, hedgerows and river banks are great places to start.

Always remember – if you’re on private land, you mustn’t pick without the owner’s permission; and don’t pick anything low down or near a road. Plants in these locations are likely to be dirty, and best left alone!

So, what should you look out for?

Right now, the blackberries are ripening; as long as you’re careful over the prickly stems, there’s nothing better than a blackberry warm from the sun. And they’re a great addition to an apple crumble, or how about some blackberry jam for your toast – yum!

You might also notice filberts (or hazelnuts) growing in the trees. These are a bit too green to pick yet, but keep an eye on them: they should be ready by the middle of August if the squirrels don’t get there first!

Whatever you pick, make sure you know exactly what you’re picking (there are plenty of guides available in books and online if you need help), and always check what other creatures make use of the plant.

For example, “Jack by the hedge” is a type of garlic mustard and also the food source of the orange-tip butterfly, so make sure to leave enough behind you!

Making things from what you find

Did you know that foraging isn’t good just for food? You can actually make a range of things with foraged plants…

For example, stinging nettles make really good rope. Who knew!?

We didn’t, but the wonderful Sally Pointer certainly does. Sally has a YouTube Channel with helpful videos that show you how to make natural fibre from foraged plants.

How about string from rhubarb, or a basket from brambles and burdock?
This is such a fascinating hobby. We’re really keen to have a go at some of these over the summer. Why not have a go too, and share with us how you get on!

Getting started

If we’ve piqued your interest in foraging but are not sure where to start, here are some good online guides:

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