The Best Foraging Experiences in the UK

If nipping to your local farmer's market for an overpriced artichoke or halfheartedly watering the chilli plant on your window ledge is no longer cutting the mustard when it comes to local produce, go several steps further with one of these foraging experiences. Catering to the modern hunter-gatherer, you can be safe in the knowledge that there'll be a glass of something cold at the end.

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Fat Hen

Cornwall, United Kingdom

It’s pretty simple at this cookery school: forage with a professional ecologist, cook your ingredients, then feast on the fruits of your labour (by candlelight at a long farmhouse table). Named after an edible plant rather than a chubby chicken, Fat Hen celebrates this once staple crop, a spinach-like leaf yielding nutritious grain. From seaweed foraging to shellfish gathering or creating wild canapés, their courses are not only green-fingered but environmentally friendly too; they’re dedicated to minimising their carbon footprint.

Address

Gwenmenhir Boscawen-noon Farm St Buryan Penzance TR19 6EH

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Taste the Wild

Helperby, Yorkshire

Fill your basket and belly with foraged fancies by joining the Taste the Wild crew (as seen on BBCs Escape to the Country and Countryfile). Venturing between the woodlands of North Yorkshire and the saltmarshes of Cumbria, join them in anything from picking fungi, brewing cider, making sausages or even concocting skin and hair products from foraged goods. Honouring wild plants for both body and soul, these guys are wholly committed to sustainability, seasonality and locality.

Address

1 Thornton Bridge Cottages Thornton Bridge Helperby YO61 2RH

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Fishing and Foraging

Wales

Chef and forager Matt Powell offers a lesson on luring saltwater creatures in the enigmatic Welsh waters. Bringing the outdoors in, gathered goods (he’ll take you to the forest too) are brought back to the kitchen to be whipped into a meal celebrating the best wild produce in Wales. From humble acorns and gorse flowers to mountain lamb and pot-caught lobster, Matt ensures all things great and small make up your plate.

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L’Enclume

Cartmel, Cumbria

With 16 elegant rooms each individually designed and clustered in cottages around two restaurants, there’s no want for choice at L’Enclume. Irregularly shaped rooms – testament to the oldness of the building – with views of the priory, serve only as distraction the main event: the food. Scan L’Enclume’s seasonal menu with a farm-to-table philosophy, starring key dishes like butter-poached turbot and Goosnargh duck with cherries and smoked beetroot. Those dedicated to a lengthy dinner should avail of the 20-course tasting menu. Exceptionally skilled and on the tiny side of things, these modestly portioned flavour pairings range from egg shell containing a yolk in mushroom broth to caramel mousse on compressed apple. Book in for breakfast (if you can bear to think of food again so soon) at L’Enclume’s sister restaurant Rogan & Co. for bistro-style dining and some delectable smoked haddock.

Address

Cavendish Street, Cartmel Nr Grange over Sands Cumbria LA11 6PZ

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Coombeshead Farm

Cornwall, United Kingdom

Nestled in the Cornish village of Lewannick, Coombeshead is a working farm, five-bed guesthouse, restaurant and bakery from chefs Tom Adams and April Bloomfield (of The Spotted Pig in New York). Set among 66 acres of woodland snaked with streams, it’s ripe for foraging and the food is exceptional. Expect homemade yoghurt, bread, preserves and freshly milled oats and grains (for overnight guests), and a dinner wild vegetables, smoked bone marrow and local seafood served on a feasting table. With on-site curing and pickling rooms joining a smokehouse, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Address

Coombeshead Farm Lewannick Cornwall PL15 7QQ

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Killiehuntly Farmhouse

Kingussie, Scottish Highlands

At this Danish-owned farmhouse in the Highlands, the minimalism of Scandi living stands alongside the raw serenity of Scottish life as four bedrooms, a cottage, a bothy and a cosy hayloft combine contemporary design with more traditional farmhouse vernacular. Feel the bracing Highland wind on your face on the farm’s catch-and-cook loch fishing experience before heading to the kitchen to salt-bake your catch with the chef. In Scandinavia, plunging into ice-cold water is a hallowed tradition, and Killiehuntly offers multiple opportunities to immerse yourself in nearby pools. Then head to the “sauna yard”, a Scandi-Scotch take on traditional Navajo sweat lodges.

Address

Kingussie PH21 1NZ

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Hauser & Wirth

Bruton, Somerset

Transforming the sleepy Somerset Village of Bruton with a futuristic gallery set in a Piet Oudolf-designed garden, Hauser & Wirth’s latest creation (it follows Zurich, New York and London) comprises of a farmhouse, gallery, restaurant and garden in the West Country. Replacing traditional farmhouse decor with contemporary art and brightly coloured furnishings, the interior celebrates the antiquity of the 18th-century building by combining expose-brick walls with finds from local vintage shops and salvage yards. Catering to foodies as much as design junkies, a focus on sustainably sourcing sees much of the food sourced from their working farm, Durslade. Look out for monthly events including “uncut” butchery and “unhooked” fishing courses.

Address

Durslade Farm, BA10 0NL

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Middleton Lodge

Richmond, North Yorkshire

Amid 200 acres of North Yorkshire countryside, Middleton Lodge is a traditional Georgian Palladian country estate with a contemporary twist. The main house, still home to the Allison family, is available for private hire with 16 bedrooms ornately decorated with antique furnishings, while sandstone buildings across the property further retain the building’s character. With a estate-to-plate ethos at its core, the restaurant eschews fussiness in favour of flavour and quality ingredients. Throw yourself into the many country pursuits – croquet or lavender floristry anyone? – before cosying up by the fire and watching game prance across the lawn.

Address

Kneeton Lane Richmond North Yorkshire DL10 6NJ

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