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The good foraging code

bottles of meadow buttercups

As foraging becomes more popular it is important to know what the rules are - both the legal rules and the ecological rules - before you set out with your basket.

Where can you pick?

Right of access to land (the right to roam in Scotland) does not mean a right to forage. If the land is privately owned then you must ask specific permission of the landowner to pick anything. This is especially important on farmland and the edges of farmland where, as well as livestock and crop issues, there may well be activities going on that you don't know about - whether that is a habitat restoration or chemical spraying, you do not want to be foraging there.

General foraging is usually not allowed in parks or recreation areas, but there may well be a specific area where it is allowed.

You can get a list of common areas from your council.

On a lot of land managed by the National Trust, the Woodland Trust and National Parks foraging is allowed but it is important to check as some have areas designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest or areas where ground nesting birds are common where it is not permitted.

The UK coast is mainly owned by the Crown and Conservation charities - both of which tend to be fine about foraging for personal consumption - though it is worth checking, particularly where there may be rare species under protection.

Where would you want to forage?

Think about what might have come before you - cars, peeing dogs, people's feet, chemical sprays, industrial residue - and make sensible decisions. Picking meadow buttercups from industrial wasteland isn't an issue but I'm not sure I would want to eat anything growing in that ground.

What can you collect?

The guide is that you can collect the 4 Fs - foliage, flowers, fruit and fungi. These are basically the parts of a plant which will naturally regenerate.

What can't you collect?

Anything that is protected - you can get a list of the protected species in the UK here.

You cannot uproot anything without express permission - this includes things like digging up wild garlic and replanting in your garden, just as much as taking rare orchids. It also includes lichen and moss. If you want lichen pick windfall pieces as they are already uprooted but leave anything on a tree, even a dead tree.

Anything not for your own consumption (commercial foraging needs proper permissions as so many areas have been destroyed by it)

I would add . . . .

Don't collect the first 10 of anything you see and never pick more than 10% from an area. Remember that this is food and habitat for birds, insects, amphibians, small mammals.

Never pick more than you KNOW you are going to use. Don't pick if you don't have the correct equipment with you - so don't pick flowers if you don't have water to carry them in, don't forage for mushrooms if you are stuffing them in pockets.

Always make sure you know what you are picking BEFORE you pick it.

Inspect for signs of insect eggs BEFORE you pick.

Do not trample an area while picking.

Consider whether taking your dog is appropriate - dogs can spook wildlife and farm stock even if they are well behaved and under control. Spooked birds abandon nests, spooked sheep can miscarry, you may not even realise.

It is really all about respect - respect for other people, respect for wildlife, respect for the countryside.

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Small runs.⁠⠀
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The single thing that has made the most difference in Snapdragon Life's eco-footprint over the past 9 months has been choosing only to make small runs of products.⁠⠀
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I know that can be frustrating sometimes - people get upset when something sells out.  @amandabanhamceramics wrote about this recently - how she received frustrated, sometimes even nasty, emails after every online sale of her houses.⁠⠀
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Once upon a time I would make 100s, sometimes even 1000s, of a single design. ⁠Now I make 10 or 20 or 30 of something. ⁠⠀
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And that is it. ⁠Once they are gone they are gone.⁠⠀
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⁠The photo is of some allium embroidered lavender cushions, embroidered onto C19th handwoven linen - part of the Just Breathe gift set - a limited edition of 20. ⁠⠀
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Half have sold.⁠⠀
A big sky and a bright pond for the end of the working week.⁠⠀
#lochlomond
This week I've been setting aside time to make things.⁠ It has felt grounding in the way that gardening is when we aren’t ankle deep in mud. Carefully chosen materials, working with my hands, concentrating. ⠀
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These patches of antique linen, embroidered with the dark lines of allium seed heads, are for a new batch of the 'Just Breathe' gift sets which should be up on the website tomorrow.⁠⠀
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I taught myself to draw with a sewing machine⁠⠀
years before I learned to draw with a pen. ⁠⠀
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In many ways I still find it easier - as though there were something backwards in my head that is happier thinking in reverse.⁠⠀
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At the weekend I read Anne Lamott's 'Almost Everything: Notes on Hope' - a book written in 2018, ⁠⠀
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I copied out this quote ⁠⠀
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Oh this linen from @scottishlinen is wonderful to embroider on.  It has inspired me to try something I have been meaning to do for ages.⁠⠀
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All Summer I have been decorating order boxes with mugs and flowers.  I must have done a few hundred by now, the initial of the customer on the mug, fine liner on card.⁠⠀
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It is a design device I love - the wonderful works of @debbiegeorgeartist and @angielewin are my inspiration - and I wanted to see if I could get fluid enough to have it work as a freehand machine embroidery.⁠⠀
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I don't work from a sketch, there are no lines on the fabric, I just put my sewing machine pedal down and go.  It helps a lot if there is some level of muscle memory.⁠⠀
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This large lavender cushion is the result - this particular one is going as a gift to a Club Member who has agreed to write for my January edition of Some Seasonal Notes. ⁠⠀
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The link to have me make one is going first to Studio Club Members their e-mail this morning, but then will go up on the website later today. The last order date will be 30th November as I can't stockpile them and will need time to make them.⁠⠀
My Dad would hate this photo.⁠⠀
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Growing up candles were banned from the house except from on Christmas Day - and even then he spent his time blowing them out as he passed.⁠⠀
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This is a rosemary covered jam-jar.  I first saw these in 1990s when they were a speciality of the florist Paula Pryke and the tie was a silk taffeta bow.⁠⠀
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This rustic version - with a tie make from linen offcuts - is the 15 minute activity going out in tomorrow's Studio Club email.
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Earlier this year, I moved back into the Studio full time and she came with me. To begin with it was fine, she was mainly outside and the doors were open.  She spent her days lying across the Studio threshold and watching out for trespassing pheasants.⁠⠀
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But now it is too cold to have open doors and I can't be bothered with constantly letting her in and out, so she is a full time studio dog, curled up on the chair by the stove.⁠⠀
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She very clearly finds it “boring, boring, boring” and thoroughly disapproves of both my music and the lack of biscuits. ⁠⠀
Now that we are in the season of mud I am spending most of my time looking up.⁠⠀
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Birds stripped the orange rowan berries within a couple of days, but these yellow ones were still hanging bright against the grey.
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At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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