My 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, 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. 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. 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.
At 19, I moved to North Devon and discovered land even wilder than 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 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 eventually required me to 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. So I forage and feast every day and receive what she chooses to give me from the Earth, continually learning the art of the forager.
I am an ethnobotanical researcher and wild food educator. I have published numerous 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, listed in The Times Top 50 websites for food and drink.
I have travelled extensively to document and record the traditional and local uses of wild food plants in indigenous cultures. My work has taken me to Africa, India, SE Asia, Europe and the USA.
I often appear on BBC local radio and occasionally pop up on television. My work has featured in BBC Good Food magazine, Sainsbury’s magazine, The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, etc.
I hope you find my site useful? Happy foraging.