Gower and River Cottage

I made a trip back to the Gower last weekend, retracing many of the steps I made while researching my Seashore Handbook. It was there that I photographed the mushrooms growing on the cliff edge at the Worm's Head, the sea holly and the crab hunting expedition. Also the sea rocket - which tastes just as awful as it did last time. I made it to Swansea market to see the cockle and laverbread stall in the centre. This is a temple to these two local delicacies but one tinged with sadness. The cockle beds of the Gower are plagued by, well, a plague and are often closed and I have been told that a fair proportion of the laver comes from Scotland.

It is a lovely place and I saw several plants that had eluded me last time. Nicest was sea stock - a rare plant which I had never seen before. But the main purpose of the trip was surfing. It was my daughter's 16th birthday treat. I had a go - I am terrible at it but proud that my aging body could cope with the effort at all.

My next "proper job" is a Hedgerow foray at River Cottage in two weeks time (fully booked, I am afraid). I love these days as we just enjoy a leisurely (and informative!) stroll around the farm followed by some wild cooking and a good meal. I am rather hoping we will find some mushrooms as well as leaves, nuts and berries.

Park Farm (where RCHQ is located) is one of the best places I know for fungi - grassland species, at least. Before Hugh took it over it lay fallow for twenty or more years and the fungi had a chance to establish themselves. Now we get St George's, Parasol, half a dozen Waxcaps, Wood Blewits (in open fields), puffballs and many others. We sometimes find a huge number of Magic Mushrooms - but are not allowed to pick them by law. Not even one.

John Wright: 5th Aug 2011 10:00:00

Foraging Courses with John

Come and book on one of my own forays. Other forays will be posted elsewhere with links to the organisation running the day.

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A Letter to the New Forest Verderers

I knew something was rumbling in the undergrowth and in late July 2015, a journalist from the Bournemouth local paper asked me to respond to some surprising words delivered by my friend, Sarah Cadbury, to the Verderers of the New Forest. I duly responded. A day or two later, a journalist from the Times asked if I would write a 300 word rebuttal. On Saturday 25th I did a Google search on the story and found myself in the Daily Mail, The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian. And not in a good way. The Verders were bystanders in this but I thought I owed them a letter. Here it is. The Verderer’s Court of the New Forest I am writing both to the Court and to the Forestry Commission on the subject of wild mushroom hunting in the Forest. It is my intention to copy this letter to othe...

Conservation part 2

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The Naming of the Shrew (paperback edition)

Latin names - frequently unpronounceable, all too often wrong and always a tiny puzzle to unravel - have been annoying the layman since they first became formalised as scientific terms in the eighteenth century. Why on earth has the entirely land-loving Eastern Mole been named Scalopus aquaticus, or the Oxford Ragwort been called Senecio squalid...


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In the first of an exciting new River Cottage Handbook series, mycologist John Wright explains the ins and outs of collecting, including relevant UK laws, conservation notes, practical tips and identification techniques. He takes us through the 72 species we are most likely to come across during forays in Britain’s forests and clearings: ...


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In the fifth of the River Cottage Handbook series, John Wright reveals the rich pickings to be had on the seashore – and the team at River Cottage explain how to cook them to perfection. For the forager, the seashore holds surprising culinary potential. In this authoritative, witty book John Wright takes us on a trip to the seaside. But be...


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Hedgerows, moors, meadows and woods – these hold a veritable feast for the forager. In this hugely informative and witty handbook, John Wright reveals how to spot the free and delicious ingredients to be found in the British countryside, and then how to prepare and cook them. First John touches on the basics for the hedgerow forager, with ...


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What could possibly beat a cool pint of beer down the pub or a lazy glass of wine at your favourite bar? The answer is: home-brewed beer or your very own brand of wine. With this, the twelfth in the River Cottage Handbook series, the inimitable John Wright shows exactly how easy it is to get started. You don't need masses of space to make alcoh...


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