Locked in a Room

I have been locked in my "office" for three months now writing a new book and I am starting to look paler and weedier than usual. But things are about to change as I prepare for my first serious organised foray of the year. It is going to be a shock getting in the water during a cold April but it is part of the job and no doubt some of my weediness will disappear. However I have cheated and splashed out on a dry-suit - wetsuits in April are for the young.

What will we find? Well this is a seashore foray so it will be seaweeds, shrimps, plants and maybe crabs (I put pots out, which is why I have to get wet - or used to have to get wet). But you never really know for sure when foraging. I had fun in Edinburgh in early April helping to lead an early morning mini-foray at the Royal Botanic Gardens. We split into two groups and inside an hour we had found over forty species of edible plant - at least twice what I had hoped. Of course this is all part of the enjoyment people get from foraging - the joy of discovery. I still find things I have never seen before, or never tried. With me in Edinburgh was Miles Irving - a charming and highly knowledgeable professional forager. He showed me how to eat Cow Parsley - something I had considered pointless at best because it just doesn't taste all that great. You find a young, thick, central stem, break it off and peal off the stringy layer. Inside it is amazingly crispy and tasty. Live and learn.

And the book? I cannot reveal what it is all about but Latin names come into a lot. Many are very amusing and I will share with you my current favourite - the Egret - Egretia egretiodes - the "Egret that looks like an Egret".

John Wright: 17th Apr 2012 10:00:00

Foraging Courses with John

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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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