Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Forage for Autumn’s bounty

Blackbird feeding on berries © Margaret Holland Blackbird feeding © Margaret Holland

Hedgerows and woodlands are laden with autumn fruits and nuts: time to go and enjoy the harvest!

The great thing about autumn foraging is that you don’t need to visit a reserve, you can find fruitfulness pretty much anywhere

There’s nothing quite like a delicious meal of free foraged food. As summer turns to autumn, hedgerow fruits ripen and provide a valuable food source for many species. Feast your eyes on glowing rosehips and inky sloes!

Probably the most familiar of our autumn fruits is the blackberry or bramble, and surely everyone has enjoyed the taste of a bramble fresh from the bush. There are actually more than 300 very closely related species of blackberry in Britain, which can vary greatly in size, taste and juiciness. Tradition has it that brambles should only be picked before Michaelmas, after which they become unpalatable as the devil has spat on them…

But there’s plenty more to tempt the palate: elderberries and rose hips in the hedges, chestnuts and hazelnuts in woodland, bilberries on the moors.

Think wild fruit jelly and jam, roasted chestnuts (with or without the open fire), and of course what winter would be complete without a nip of sloe gin…

How to do it

If you can’t get to the special places listed below… The great thing about autumn foraging is that you don’t need to visit a nature reserve, you can find autumn fruitfulness pretty much anywhere.  Elderberries and brambles can be found in the most urban of parks or overgrown gardens, while hedgerows almost everywhere are abundant with hazelnuts, sloes (blackthorn) and dog rose.

Special spots

Find a guided walk led by your local Wildlife Trust here .

Devon, Andrew’s Wood nature reserve sits in the heart of the beautiful South Hams countryside of South Devon. It has a track accessible from a car park which is lined with wild fruits and nuts (especially hazel) in autumn. The remainder of the reserve has many other foraging opportunities. 

Herefordshire,  Common Hill  - there are damsons, perry pears and many other things in the hedges (and of course plenty of fruit in the orchards that doesn’t get picked). Lower House Farm / Lugg Meadow reserves have lovely hedgerows filled with sloes, blackberries and rose hips.

Warwickshire, Radway Meadows have midland hawthorn, so it's a good spot for haws and there are also crab apples. Loxley Church Meadow is fantastic for sloes.

Sweet chestnuts © Alan Price

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