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As the light begins the fade, the last of the summer fruits provide one last bounty. Autumn is renowned for harvesting with foraging being one of the ultimate activities for this season. Dorset has plenty of places to discover treasures hidden under the trees and leaves.

Fore Adventure are based in Studland, near Swanage, and run foraging and bush craft courses year round. Jade and Dan, the founders of this unique business share with Dream Cottages their top foraging foods for Autumn.

Berries are found in the plentiful during the Autumn months and are perfect for foraging, especially beginners.

Blackberries

The most well-loved hedgerow berry has to be the blackberry. Not only is it a brilliant activity for families to forage together,this berry has many uses when bought home. Popular recipes include apple and blackberry crumble, perfect after a hearty roast dinner on a Sunday as well as blackberry jam and jelly.

This berry is also perfect made into ice-cream or sorbet, cordials, beers and syrups. Infusing gin and other spirits is a popular use of the berry. Fore Adventure love making blackberry lemonade during their Forage & Feast events.

Elderberries

Another popular hedgerow berry is the Elderberry. These can be found in similar places to blackberries such as hedgerows and present as small purple-black berries hanging in a cluster. This berry is also great to add to crumbles, jams, chutneys and sauces but it’s also a fantastic natural remedy.

Hawthorn Berries

Many a hawthorn berry can be found across the Purbecks this Autumn in the heaths and downs. Although they taste like under ripe apples, they are high in bioflavonoids which are great for your heart!

Rosehips

Rosehips are full of vitamin C and were actually collected by the bucket-load during the second world war as a replacement for citrus fruits. They are commonly made into herbal tea which tastes delicious with mint leaves, oozing goodness. Infused vinegar is also a popular recipe along with wine. Similar to Hawthorn berries, they are found in scrubland and county trail walks.

Hazelnuts

This nut is a perfect snack for a woodland walk of which Dorset has many. Hazelnuts are a tasty treat to discover but can also be used in the everyday kitchen. They are gorgeous roasted and can be added to flour for bread making and cakes.

Sweet Chestnuts 

Not to be confused with conkers (horse chestnut) which is inedible. Sweet chestnuts are more of a savoury snack but give a caramelised taste. These nuts are extra tasty added to stews and soups.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are just as fun to forage for during Autumn as much as any other nut, fruit or berry. There are particular guidelines to follow. Be sure to Identify your foraged mushrooms before picking and eating, there are various guide books to help you. Better still Fore Adventure recommend joining a guided course with an expert forager to learn your mushrooms before attempting to go it alone.

  • Do not pick wild mushrooms with gills if you’re a beginner as the edible ones can be easily confused with poisonous gilled mushrooms,
  • Never eat foraged mushrooms raw – some can be eaten raw but to avoid any uncertainties cook them before you eat them,
  • Do not eat rotten foraged mushrooms,
  • Only forage mushrooms with tubes, spines and ridges, as they have almost no lookalikes in the UK and are safe to collect even for a complete beginner,
  • Store foraged mushrooms into a breathable bag or carrier.

Dorset is the perfect county to take some time for yourself, with a slower pace of life, milder weather and uninterrupted rural views it’s a place to feel inspired, rested and refreshed this autumn.

With chocolate box cottages nestled in pretty villages, to properties overlooking the Jurassic coast and everything in between, you will find a perfect cosy match with us. View our properties and book your stay, today!

Fore Adventure host four seasonal forage and feasts throughout the year. Book now for the festive forage and feast on 7th December.