BASH’s 2008-9 Wild Food Walks, four seasonal food forays in Sandwich were supported by Dover Health & Wellbeing Fund.
The aim of the walks was to enable people to get together, explore the local area and enjoy the traditional practice of collecting, preparing and eating seasonal wild foods.
The walks were led by foraging enthusiast and walker Sonia Overall and supported by the BASH team of volunteers.
The first BASH wild food walk - a BRAMBLE RAMBLE - took place on 30th August 2008. Ten walkers took part in a circular walk from the Phoenix Centre in Sandwich South to Richborough Roman Fort, using a route that took in parts of the ancient town wall, Stour Valley and Saxon Shore footpaths and bridleways. Participants collected 8lbs of blackberries, as well as rosehips, hawthorn berries, bullaces and elderberries. At the end of the walk a mass jam-making session took place at the Phoenix Centre in Sandwich: 15 pots of blackberry jam were made and shared out between participants.
The second walk - a HEDGEROW HARVEST- took place on 4th October 2008. Fifteen walkers (including a babe in arms!) took part in a circular walk from the Phoenix Centre in Sandwich South to the hedgerows and fields around Woodnesborough and beyond. Participants collected wild apples, rosehips, hawthorn berries, wild service, a few sloes and late blackberries, and nibbled on fresh horseradish en route. At the end of the walk particpants sampled some seasonal produce using wild food, including elderflower champagne, hot rosehip syrup, hawthorn jelly and sloe and crab apple jelly.
The third BASH wild food walk - a SPRING FORAGE - took place on 25th April 2009. As interest in the walks increased, twenty one walkers of all ages took part in a circular walk from the Phoenix Centre to Richborough, pausing at the Roman Amphitheatre and Fort, and walking along part of the original 'Watling Street' Roman road. Participants collected dandelion leaves and flowers, nettles, hedge garlic, hawthorn leaves and alexanders, a roman pot-herb. At the end of the walk, participants tasted nettle soup, a spiced dipping sauce made of spring herbs and leaves, and buttered alexanders.
The final foraging event in the series - an ELDERFLOWER WALK - took place on 30th May 2009. Thirty walkers of all ages from 5 years upwards took part in a circular walk around Sandwich, starting at the Phoenix Centre and walking along the ancient town walls, taking in areas of the Quayside and river. Participants identified and collected elderflowers, mallow leaves, wild rose petals, hedge garlic, hawthorn leaves and horseradish, and discovered sites for picking blackberries, hips and sloes later in the year. Refreshments at the end of the walk included elderflower lemonade, elderflower fritters, dandelion syrup, hedge garlic pesto and a dish of sauteed wild asparagus and wild garlic.