A Forage in the Wye Valley

By Gavin

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to live somewhere else. I find bits and pieces of interest near where I live, but there re much richer environments out there. My wife took me away to Ross-on-Wye for the weekend (she knows I love the Wye Valley), and we went for a walk along the Wye, just South of Symonds Yat.

If you’ve read any of my posts before, you’ll see that I find a few things of interest each time I go out to look for stuff to forage. In one 2 hour walk in the Wye valley, I saw more than in all the other posts put together.

Wye Valley Fungus

Let’s start with the fungus:

Fungus forage in March in the Wye Valley

Fungus in March in the Wye Valley

Wye Valley Tree Recognition

Of the many trees in this impressive forest, I could positively identify:

  • Weeping Willow – Bark of new shoots can be used for pain relief.
  • Elder – Flowers and berries are great foraging.
  • Ash – Can be good for making tools because it’s strong and doesn’t splinter easily.
  • Silver Birch – Home to Birch Polypore and Chaga fungus.
  • Alder – The bark contains an anti-inflammatory.
Tree Identification in March in the Wye Valley

Tree Identification in March in the Wye Valley

I know I should have been able to do more, but I’m still learning (and I didn’t want to spend too long looking things up instead of walking!)

Wye Valley Plants

  • Dog’s Mercury – Poisonous, but worth knowing as it often grows alongside Wild Garlic.
  • Lords & Ladies (Arum Maculatum) – Again, poisonous, but worth knowing as it often grows alongside Wild Garlic.
  • Wild Garlic – A pungent leaf, very garlicky and very tasty.
  • Cleavers – AKA Sticky Willies, fresh leaves are edible as a salad item. Dried seed balls can make a coffee-like drink.
  • Nettles – Stingers are horrible, but a very versatile and nutritious leaf vegetable.
  • Chickweed – Another plant whose young shoots are a nice salad leaf.
  • Bracken – Useful for tinder and for shelter covering.
  • White Flowering Dead Nettle – Not of the same family as stinging nettles, but can be used in food the same way.
  • Snow Drops – Poisonous, but pretty and an indication of the start of spring.
  • Wild Clematis – The winter seed fluff can be useful for fire lighting.
  • Crow Garlic – Garlic flavoured herb. – http://www.foundfood.com/crow-garlic/
  • Alexanders – Wild vegetable.
  • Daisies – Leaves are good in salads.
  • Bramble – In the autumn could be full of blackberries.
  • Hart’s Tongue Ferns – Historically used for medicinal purposes, but unclear as to whether it’s edible or not, so not then.
Plant ID in March in the Wye Valley

Plant ID in March in the Wye Valley