Wild Food Foraging walks, September Hailsham.

Wild Food Foraging walks, September 2014 Hailsham. Distance 3 miles approx... Time 3hrs with lots of stopping and looking. In partnership with the Hailsham Trust, Craggers led 2 more wild food foraging walks as part of the Autumn Walking festival in Hailsham, East Sussex. On both days we had beautiful golden Autumnal sun. The gentle light bought out all the emerging beauty of the woodland as the autumn colours started to blaze. After a rece trip, we chose a wood called Robin Post Wood near Hailsham which had easy access and terrain, while also providing different kinds of habitat. It is an amalgamation of different woods, Wilmington Wood and Abbots Wood depending where you are, with a lake in the middle. The main trail going through this wood is the Robin Post Trail, but there all sorts of side paths that enabled us to walk in a huge circle. We were joined by up to 10 people each day with ages ranging from 6 to over 60 years old. The children were particularly keen customers, running about all over the place an enjoying the adventure and freedom of the woods. The walk started by nettle foraging and a demonstration of how to make cordage. Then we set of up the Robin Post trail, stopping to recognise various greens at ground level which are edible like watercress and also to recognise beech trees and Oak trees and look at the beech nuts and acorns. After this the wood became shadier and there was evidence of fungi and mushrooms. Sadly lots of the specimens were covered in mildew. We did manage to identify a large parasol mushroom which is edible, and some boletus. We also saw plenty of other nonedible species, red ones from the Russula group. The most exciting find was during a bit of ‘off road’ near the lake where we saw copious hedgehog fungus which is edible. As we came round the lake, lots of hips and haws were visible. Also sloes where emerging, which later can be harvested to season alcoholic drinks. Tony had some fun setting fire to some natural tinder with kids which sparked up in a dramatic fashion, the children loved it! It was then time to complete the circle and head back down the robin post trail to the cars. 3 Hours had gone by without anyone noticing, just being neatly punctuated by calls of, “Oooh what’s this?” Thanks to everyone who came for all the energy and curiosity.