A Forage in the Wye Valley
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:
- Jew’s Ears (more and bigger than I’ve seen before) – http://www.foundfood.com/jews-ear-mushroom/
- Turkey Tails (more of them and more colourful) – http://www.foundfood.com/turkey-tail-fungus/
- Scarlet Elf Cups – Attractive and edible.
- King Alfred’s Cakes – Not edible, but very useful in bushcraft for accepting a spark, and for ‘carrying fire’.
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.
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.