My own plant journey started when I was a child.
I’d take myself off for hours at a time exploring the miles of fields and small woods that greeted me at the back of my parent’s house.
I vividly remember the happiness and joy I experienced lying in glades of bluebells, the sun streaming down through the green leaves of trees that towered above me, deer only a few feet away.
Nature was my playground, and my very conservative mother would continually chastise me for having mud-encrusted trousers with knees and backside caked in the deep smell of earth and humus, green stained and grinning like the scallywag that I was.
At school, I would run off with my friends across the farmers’ fields, pick wild berries and nibbly things, and on frosty Autumnal days gorge ourselves on Sweet Chestnuts.
And so my love of the land deepened without even realising it, and all the growing, flying, slithering, crawling and walking things on it were seen as friends rather than something to fear. Earth was good, dirt was good.
When I was 19 I moved to North Devon and discovered land even wilder than that which I knew as a child. I suddenly found myself amongst people who had a vast knowledge of crafts, art and country-ways.
I was befriended by a couple who would take me out on lazy days and show me the hedgerow larder that was right in front of my eyes.
We feasted on many wild edible plants, including fresh fish caught from the sea only 2 miles away. Good fellowship and good eating.
Circumstances required me to eventually leave, and I entered the world of cities, concrete and steel. I never totally lost my feel for the land, but the responsibility of bringing up a small child meant that my focus went elsewhere, and into earning a living.
Over fifteen years ago the call of the wild beckoned me once again, and so I forage and feast every day as I walk the land and receive from the Earth what she chooses to give me, continually learning the “art of the forager”.
I am a plant-based forager, ethnobotanical researcher and wild food educator. I have published over 50 foraging guide books and established my wild food foraging school in 2008. My foraging courses were recently voted #1 in the country by BBC Countryfile.
I am the creator of eatweeds.co.uk, which is listed in The Times Top 50 websites for food and drink.
I have also travelled extensively documenting and recording the traditional and local uses of wild food plants in indigenous cultures, and my work has taken me to Africa, India, SE Asia, Europe and the USA.
I have regularly appeared on national and local radio and television, although not so much these days and my work has been recommended in BBC Good Food magazine, Sainsbury’s magazine as well as in The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph etc.
I hope you find my site useful? Happy gathering.