Updated: Mar 12, 2019
On a bright winter weekend in November Jon planned a surprise Pembrokeshire adventure for us, a coastal foraging course with the knowledgeable Craig Evans from Coastal Foraging.
As foodies, (in Jon's case a lifelong obsession with all things food!) what could be better then heading out for a bit of beach foraging for the day.
Craig offered different foraging experiences and Jon opted for the 'classic' forage experience.
The classic experience showed us what wonderful wild produce is available at different times of the year in different habitats.
Jon, Dylan and I got to explore some new places in Pembrokeshire we hadn't been to yet - so a complete win! win!
All togged up with hat, scarves, gloves to keep warm and not forgetting the hairy bear Dylan, we set off to Wisemans Bridge and Saundersfoot beaches to start our foraging adventure.
The day starts with finding a bit of wild garlic in the woods next to the beach. At this time of year you need to know where to look for wild garlic as the plants have died back to bulbs, in readiness to pop up in spring.
Craig, took us to his secret forage spot to find the wild garlic. Wild garlic loves a shady and moist spot in the woods, and we needed a little to add to our beach feast for later!
After, gathering our wild garlic we headed off to Wisemans Bridge beach to start the coastal forage. Craig and the other foraging guests that were joining us for the day.
Craig explained that summer is a great time to forage as there are many more plants to choose from, however even in winter you can still find tasty plants like sea radish, rock samphire and sea lettuce for your wild food table.
Rock samphire growing along the beach edge is often found on many a fancy restaurant table!
Craig, is an expert in foraging, but he has a great knowledge of local geology.
He explained that the Pembrokeshire coast had once been part of the Caribbean coastline. At low tide you could see the fossilised jungle floor and tree stumps from that period of history. Interesting stuff!! He even pointed out coal seams from the cliff face along Wisemans beach.
Another great aspect of the coastal foraging experience is that it is dog friendly. Dylan loved coming along for the day with us and he met a new bestie 'Llew' (which means lion in Welsh) Craig's two year old golden retriever.
One of my favourite things i learned was how to forage for razor clams.
First you find the little holes they create in the sand which looks like a figure of eight, you then pour salt on the hole to bring them to the surface .......
...once they lunge out of the sand grab them firmly & pull them out slowly, another tasty addition to our beach feast later!
More foraging delights, fresh mussels, limpets and cockles for our beach seafood lunch
Prizing a limpet from its rock...
Jon digging up cockles on Saunderfoot Beach
We collected our natures bounty, its time to get the campfire lit, get warm and cook up our beach feast on the Swedish fire log!
After being outside all day my hands had started to numb, so having the fire was warming the 'cockles of my heart', or in this case definitely the hands :-)
Time to get the cook on! Good welsh butter, wild garlic, with cockles, limpets, mussels, razor clams, and two different types of snails
Time to eat!
Craig was a great & knowledgeable tutor and the coastal forage experience was a fab day that everyone could do. There are a couple of options for foraging locally! This would be an amazing activity to do on your camping or glamping holiday!
Kids under 16 even go free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Top tips for a great day of foraging
1. Go with an expert. You will learn so much more, be safe and forage legally
2. Wrap up & bring layers or sun-cream & hats. Your experience will last approx 6-8 hours
3. Bring good shoes. You will be scrabbling over rocks
4. Bring a bag for your foraged items. Be respectful with how much you take, don't take too much
5. Bring snacks. Being outside all day makes you pretty hungry and even though you will eat what you have foraged, it will be at the end of the say so bring some snacks with you for when the tummy starts to rumble!
Local Forager Experiences