Healthy and delicious, wild mushrooms can be found in wood, fields and protected areas across the UK. The Forest of Dean is a fantastic spot for mushroom-picking as it is damp and wooded, and many a good haul can be found after a day of searching.
As @OneGreenPlanet says, “Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids, and they also contain many beneficial antioxidants.” Here are our top tips for finding fungi in the Forest of Dean.
Make sure you have permission to forage
While much of the forest is public land, there are pockets of private property in the area, so it’s essential you check access rights before you start to pick.
If you think you are on private land, get permission from the landowner or head to a different area before you start collecting your mushroom bounty.
Go with an approved forager
Unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s a good idea to go with an approved forager. You can find a list of approved foragers on the Forest of Dean tourism site or get in touch with a local guide to find out more.
If you want to make a day of your mushroom hunt, book a foraging experience. These will give you the opportunity to learn how to identify, collect and cook local mushrooms safely and responsibly.
If in doubt, leave it out
Although edible mushrooms are delicious, poisonous fungi can be deadly, and knowing the difference between the two isn’t always easy.
There are now a number of apps available to help with identification. These should be able to tell you if the mushrooms you’re about to pick are edible or if you should stay clear.
However, technology is never 100% reliable so it’s a good idea to use your common sense and avoid any fungi that you’re not sure about.
Avoid the roadsides
It may sound obvious, but it’s always best to avoid the roadsides when foraging for fungi. These areas are more likely to be polluted and you may find rubbish, dogs’ mess, and other unappetising things strewn along the tarmac. Instead of staying near the road, head into the forest and get some fresh, clean mushrooms instead.
Only pick what you need
Foraging for fungi is a popular pastime in the forest, so make sure you leave plenty for everyone else by only picking what you need.
As well as leaving fungi for the next person, this approach ensures that the forest isn’t stripped of these essential organisms and biodiversity is preserved.
Know what’s in season
Before you set out for your mushroom hunt, try to find out what’s in season and which mushrooms are commonly found in the area. This will give you a good idea of what to look for and should make your forage a little easier.
The Forest of Dean is famous for the quality of its produce. At The Wyndham, you can sample some delicious local dishes and find out about other culinary activities in the area.