Wild Plant Guide foraging walks and courses
What to expect on a foraging course with Wild Plant Guide Chris Hope?
Well, since he began sharing his wild plant guide adventures, Chris has now led over 200 walks and courses, sharing an infective passion with more than 1500 people along the way.
Having been researching and experimenting with wild plants for nearly 20 years, Chris brings you a practical mix of the science, folklore, and history of plants. The information is concise and clear, and presented in a fun way, switching from culinary to medicinal perspectives, and back again.
What will I see and learn? How many plants will I meet on a typical walk with Wild Plant Guide?
On his introductory forage walks in the spring, summer, and autumn, you will soon discover that we can only ever begin to scratch the surface of the possibilities and opportunities that exist for foraging here in Britain. Typically you will meet around 25 plants on each 2.5 hour walk.
The walks are always circular routes. And you don’t ever have to walk very far, because there are always so many plants of interest everywhere. Inclusivity is important and most walks and courses are accessible to all.
This means that the walks are generally suitable for people with access issues. If this includes you, then please contact me to discuss it further, because I would like, where possible to accommodate everyone.
What we see on any given walk also depends on the habitats we are visiting. Every walk is by nature, different to the last. Some habitats are home to a greater number of plants.
Chris returns to the same locations throughout the year, in order to thoroughly catalogue and share what plants grows where. This enables your personal picture of the flora of your local area to quickly become more complete.
Leaves and shoots are the main feature of spring, whereas flowers, fruits, and seeds come with summer. Autumn is always abundant, with a second growth spurt of leaves, as well as many fruits, roots, seeds, and fungi to choose from. Winter offers more than you think, but can easily be provided for from the previous three seasons.
During the regular seasonal periods of gluts, I often host courses on preserving wild foods such as elderflower cordial, hogweed chutney’s, hawthorn ketchups, rosehip syrups and more…You can see a selection of recipes on the foraged food page.
During the winter, even with fewer species around to choose from, it is still commonplace on my walks to find and discuss a range of exciting edible and medicinal plants. A few of these are some of the finest wild foods I eat. Please visit the winter foraging page for more than 25 wild foods to harvest in winter.
Fast track your foraging with Wild Plant Guide using the easy-to-learn ‘patterns method’ of plant identification
As well as marrying a range of medicinal and edible information on my walks, I teach the easy-to-learn ‘patterns method’ of plant identification. This simple method allow us to identify unknown plants in the field using observable patterns that plant families produce.
So for example, when chancing across flowers with four petals in a cross, and six stamens in the centre, this pattern should start to trigger bells, because that plant could well be one of the 3,300 edible brassica species that grow worldwide. Each brassica species has flowers as were just described.
The simple-to-remember ‘patterns method’ really does present a system to help fast track your foraging. No more thumbing through hundreds of photos trying to match what you hold to a drawing. The patterns of plants allow us to hone in on a plant family, often providing many clues as to edibility or otherwise. To provide a good starting point, take a look at the basic leaf shapes and illustrations, found here.
Now you can help your children learn this method of plant i/d with my handy, two-in-one ‘Plant Families SNAP / Memory pairs card game.These colour cards are available in the foraging resources shop
By coming on any of my walks or courses you can also receive special discounted prices on my study aids, such as my yearly Wild Plant Guide calendars, the colour coded, season-by-season Wild Plant Guide harvest charts, the foragers playing cards, ‘top trumps’ style card game, and my forthcoming pocket-sized, Wild Plant Guide identification cards.
I host scheduled walks and courses all-year-round in various locations, in a number of different towns and cities throughout Southern Britain, (and increasingly further north), to enable as many people as possible to access them, as well as to meet new plants.
Private tailored walks are most welcome. In the past I have hosted private foraging walks for hen parties, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, corporate team days, the WI, and various colleges and universities. My range of private foraging packages are discussed here
Meeting new plants is one of the thrills of travelling and my chosen work, so, ideas on new locations to forage and places to teach are always appreciated. If you would like to see the Wild Plant Guide hosting a scheduled forage walk near you, and can help me organise one as a co-host, then drop us a line on the contact page!