Midsummer is a magical time for collecting edible wild plants. You can spend warm days and long, light evenings foraging for surprising edible ingredients and it’s a fun way to learn more about the countryside in which you live.

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However, its important to forage sustainably and responsibly, and make sure you are stay safe and within the law.

Seek permission - It is illegal to dig up or remove a plant (including algae, lichens and fungi) from the land on which it is growing without permission from the landowner or occupier.

Take a good field guide to confirm species in the field and avoid confusion. Some species are protected by law for information refer to the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).

Minimise damage - Stick to paths and take care not to trample down or damage areas you are collecting from.

Know what you're picking - Never consume a wild plant or fungus unless you are absolutely certain of its identification. It could be rare and protected, inedible or even deadly poisonous. Use reference books to identify them.

For fungi, only take mushrooms that have opened their caps. Do not collect small ‘button’ mushrooms.

Leave plenty behind - Wild food is vital for the survival of the UK’s wildlife. Forage carefully to ensure there is enough left for birds and species to consume and to ensure plants and fungi can regenerate and reproduce.

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Blackberries are a favourite with hedgerow foragers. These juicy fruits are best to pick in August and September so arm the kids with baskets and it won't be long until everyone's fingers and lips are dyed purple. It’s all worth it though with the delicious prospect of blackberry & apple pie and homemade jam to follow.