Dave Winnard, of Discover the Wild, is a professional naturalist, keen birder and moth-er. He has worked with the Royal Horticultural Society, The Woodland Trust, the Wildlife Trust, RSPB, and many other organisations around his home in Lancashire, raising awareness of wild foods.
“But surely foraging isn’t sustainable and will have an effect on nature in the long run?” a woman asked me while I was leading a mushroom workshop. This is a question I seem to be being asked more and more these days.
I forage. I love to go for a walk and pick wonderful spring greens like nettles, ramsons and sea beet, I also love to pick wild mushrooms like chanterelle, penny bun (porcini) and wood hedgehog. To me there is nothing finer than being able to go in to my local area and enjoy wild tasty treats when they are in season.
When I going foraging I know exactly what I am picking, how much and from where. In some cases the more you pick, like the green tops of nettles, the more it grows. With others I only take what I need, for example penny buns, I could easily pick 200 fruiting bodies from one spot each autumn, but I don’t, I take a few to eat, some to store, and that’s enough for me.