Can I pick wild flowers in the U.K.? When is it illegal?

Can I pick wild flowers in the U.K.? When is it illegal?

In this blog post I will do my best to explain it, pick out the relevant parts of the legislation and steer a forager, bushcrafter or ethnobotanist in what is (hopefully) the right direction.
At the bottom of this blog post is the shortened explanation (a tl;dr), but for those who want to know exactly where that came from here are some blocks of legal text:

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New Foraging Course Dates for 2019!

New Foraging Course Dates for 2019!

We have added new dates to the 2019 course calendar to cope with demand for our Foraging and Wild Foods day course, plus launched brand new Level 1 and Level foraging training courses for professionals and those who want to take their foraging seriously. Continue reading

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We went foraging with VICE and Max Halley

We went foraging with VICE and Max Halley

Back in November 2018 I spent a couple of days working on two articles for VICE – one was taking renowned sandwich chef Max Halley foraging for edibles on a North Wales beach, and for the other I wandered around a damp forest with writer Angela Hui and photographer Elijah Thomas. Each piece was part of a wider project promoting the idea of ‘microgapping’ in the UK. Continue reading

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Extreme Low Tide Foraging – How to find the lowest tides

Extreme Low Tide Foraging – How to find the lowest tides

Extreme Low Tide foraging is becoming popular and one of the increasingly common requests we get for a private coastal foraging course over here in North Wales. It’s easy to understand why – when all of the most interesting and edible parts of the beach are under the water for part of every day then there’s a lot more to see when the water has retreated to its lowest point.
The UK is home to one of the biggest tidal ranges in the world – the Severn Estuary can have a difference of as much as 15m (49ft). The tidal range of one particular spot can be dependent on several factors, ranging from the shape of the bay, inlet or estuary where the range is being measured to the underwater geology and topography, and even the direction it is facing relative to the prevailing winds. Continue reading

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Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus

Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus

Within the UK you will find Bilberry bushes growing amongst heather and gorse plants on upland acidic soils. I’ve found them on pretty much every UK mountain I have climbed or visited, even if the species was only represented by a few straggly bushes clinging on between some rocks, away from the relentless grazing of sheep or deer.

It is sometimes known as the Judas Tree, from the tale that Judas Iscariot hung himself from the bough of an Elder. There are also many (often paradoxical) folk tales surrounding the use and planting of the tree – from seeing the devil himself after burning the wood to planting Elder near a home to ward him off. Continue reading

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Cep Boletus edulis

Cep Boletus edulis

Cep (Boletus edulis) is one of the most reassuring edible mushroom that you will find in the UK. It has a distinctive appearance, few things to confuse it with and very tasty. It’s a highly-prized mushroom in the kitchen and can be found across the Northern Hemisphere.

It is sometimes known as the Judas Tree, from the tale that Judas Iscariot hung himself from the bough of an Elder. There are also many (often paradoxical) folk tales surrounding the use and planting of the tree – from seeing the devil himself after burning the wood to planting Elder near a home to ward him off. Continue reading

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Can you eat mussels straight from the beach?

Can you eat mussels straight from the beach?

When you teach people about foraging and ‘wild food’ you often run the risk of sounding negative or over-cautious about the potential hazards that come from eating shellfish, or fungi,or whatever else it is that you are solemnly warning people about. I do this with good reason – people are paying to attend on of our North Wales foraging courses to learn more about the subject, and I have a duty of care towards them as an instructor, and just as a (mostly?) decent human being. That said – there IS a difference between laying out the potential risks and telling somebody that they shouldn’t/can’t do something. Continue reading

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Elder Sambucus nigra

Elder Sambucus nigra

Elder (Sambucus nigra) is a tall flowering shrub with clusters of white, fragrant flowers in late Spring and red berries in early autumn. It has a long history of uses as a source of food, for hedgerows, for keeping insects (and perhaps the Devil) at bay, and a host of other uses.

It is sometimes known as the Judas Tree, from the tale that Judas Iscariot hung himself from the bough of an Elder. There are also many (often paradoxical) folk tales surrounding the use and planting of the tree – from seeing the devil himself after burning the wood to planting Elder near a home to ward him off. Continue reading

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2018 UK Knife Law Changes

2018 UK Knife Law Changes

In the past weeks the news has featured several stories on UK knife crimes, knife law and the perception of knives as weapons as well as tools. This was followed by the announcement of a new Offensive Weapons Bill which will begin the process of changing of what is considered a legal knife, where they can be used/carried by the general public and how they can be acquired.
Last year a consultation on offensive and dangerous weapons was published, which caused a lot of discussion online from knife makers, owners and collectors from all sectors.

Whilst this is currently a bill (not yet an Act of Parliament, see the differences here) it is likely that some significant changes are coming for those who collect knives or purchase them for outdoor use. Continue reading

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We want your outdoor questions!

We want your outdoor questions!

We want your outdoor questions!
Pretty much every week we receive an email, Facebook message, Twitter DM or comment somewhere that is asking for advice, information or just somebody asking for help with their own adventure.
Of course we try to help as much as we can, and it’s not unusual to find ourselves on the phone for quite a while talking through one subject or another.

This has given me an idea – why not make this more of a public process? The questions we get are often very similar to each other and I know that more people would possibly benefit from those answers.

So this is the idea – you can submit your questions to us via one of the following sources, and we will do our best to answer them in our upcoming videos: Continue reading

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What’s with all of the gun videos recently?

What’s with all of the gun videos recently?

What’s with all of the gun videos? Is Original Outdoors a gun channel now?

Well… No. But for the UK it’s closely related to one of the subjects that we ourselves are closely associated with – foraging and wild food.

Due to a number of UK laws the most accessible, legal and ethical source of wild meat for the keen forager is probably via a sub-12ft/lb air rifle. It’s potentially a huge subject with a lot to explore, and to be perfectly honest there is a lot of very poor information online.

We are pulling together a series of videos running through the basics of buying, owning and using an air gun in the U.K. which we can refer our customers to in the future – but rest assured we’ll also be creating more mountain, survival, bushcraft and other wilderness skills content in the coming weeks. Continue reading

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Why is foraging still so popular in the U.K?

Why is foraging still so popular in the U.K?

For a decade our foraging and wild foods courses are filled – but why?
My name is Richard Prideaux, and I am a forager.

It’s not much of a confession really – through Original Outdoors I have been leading foraging courses and walks for a decade or more, as well as working as a supplier of foraged plants from a local organic estate and working with chefs and restaurants to find new ways to use wild plants, fungi and lichens in dishes served to the most discerning of clients. It is safe to say that a large part of my working life outdoors has been linked to foraging and wild food, even if peripherally on our bushcraft courses. But none of that would have been possible if there hadn’t been such a demand for information and training in this ancient activity – so with shops and food suppliers all around us, why is there such a cultural draw towards edible plants and fungi?

I have two theories on this, and they require a little unpacking. They may also be complete cobblers, but allow me to explain… Continue reading

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Foraging and Camp Cooking with 16 Hospitality

Foraging and Camp Cooking with 16 Hospitality

Foraging and Wild Food with 16 Hospitality Last year we teamed up with 16 Hospitality for their first external training course – a day of foraging and wild food cooking in the woods. For 2017 they wanted to push things forward a little and really challenge their

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Rock Samphire Crithmum maritimum

Rock Samphire Crithmum maritimum

Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) is a prized edible coastal plant that can be found on much of the UK coastline, but sometimes takes a bit of effort to locate. The taste is loved by some and loathed by others – John Wright claims it has a ‘carrots and kerosene’ flavour. I find it palatable, but not really worth the effort if you cannot locate it easily! Continue reading

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UK Knife Law Explained

UK Knife Law Explained

UK Knife Law Explained for the Outdoors UK legal carry law discussed with a former police officer What can I carry in the UK? Is my knife illegal? What knife can I carry for bushcraft? The above is a good example of questions we’re asked with regards

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VIDEO: How to zero an airgun scope

VIDEO: How to zero an airgun scope

How to zero an airgun scope Setting the sights on your target Tony from Tony’s Camo and Airgun Centre in Saltney comes back for this second video on the use of airguns. In the shooting range adjacent to his shop he shows me how he teaches people

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VIDEO: How to choose an airgun

VIDEO: How to choose an airgun

How to choose an air rifle Buying your first airgun Tony Dobson from Tonys Camo and Airgun Centre in Saltney kindly gave us some time to explain the basics of buying an air rifle in the UK. The video details the different types of air rifle commonly

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Moments – Doug’s Acorn Whistle

Moments – Doug’s Acorn Whistle

Doug’s Acorn Whistle Instructor Doug Don hijacks the Foraging and Wild Foods Course to show off the shockingly loud whistle you can make from the cup of an acorn. This was shot on the last Foraging and Wild Foods Course of 2016

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Aquaforno Outdoor Cooking Stoves

Aquaforno Outdoor Cooking Stoves

Aquaforno Outdoor Cookers The ultimate in camping cooking systems? The rise of glamping and ‘posh camping’ has led to a rise in standards of campsite cookery. A lukewarm Pot Noodle and a bit of malt loaf will no longer do – elaborate meals, fresh handmade pizzas, smoked

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Visiting Fortis Clothing

Visiting Fortis Clothing

Visiting Fortis Clothing Last month I was down in Cornwall and Devon doing some promotional work and foraging around on the beaches of the south coast – and I couldn’t resist diverting to Axminster on the way home to drop in on Fortis Clothing, a family-owned and

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Foraging with 16 Hospitality

Foraging with 16 Hospitality

Foraging with 16 Hospitality On Tuesday we were joined a by a group from 16Hospitality, owners and operators of pub, bar, hotel and restaurant businesses in North Wales and Cheshire. We had been approached by Operations Manager Matt Parker to create a unique foraging and wild foods

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A ban on foraging?

A ban on foraging?

A ban on foraging? Bristol Council proposes ban on blackberry picking That is one of several mildly alarmist headlines and post titles that I have seen today regarding the proposed plans by Bristol City Council to introduce new byelaws in the parks and some of the open

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Ten Foraging Books you need on your shelf

Ten Foraging Books you need on your shelf

Ten Foraging books you need in your life Following on from our surprisingly popular blog post featuring the Ten Coastal Foraging Books You Need in Your Life, we’ve put together a list of ten inland foraging books that we recommend. We have been discussing not only foraging

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