Hello! I’m Chris Hope. I’m really excited to be sharing my passion of plants with you on this new Wild Plant Guide platform. Plants have long been the love of my life, and my life’s work for nearly 20 years.
I aim to give you a range of information on our most common and useful wild plant species here in Britain. I offer year round foraging courses and produce a growing range of foragers resources, including my colour coded harvesting charts, three different fun card games and my waterproof wild plant identification cards. I also make yearly calendars and diaries.
For as long as I can remember I have been devouring wild plants and wild flowers, such as the nectar-rich white dead nettle and honeysuckle, or the soft, succulent, pith-filled stems of grasses.
I couldn’t see back then, aged 3 or 4, any good reason not to eat these lovely things. I wasn’t discouraged by my Mum, who I can remember only warning me about lords and ladies, and the laburnum tree. This trust of a child’s innate nature not to eat bitter or disgusting tasting things, possibly installed some of the curiosity and passion I have now.
I continue to eat wild foods almost every day! In these pages I hope to show you some of the simple steps to seamlessly include foraging into your daily life, and to help bring some of the most nutritious and tasty foods these islands produce into your hands, your kitchen and your daily diet.
I grew up in the Somerset countryside, so knowing a beech from a birch, an oak from a poplar, or hawthorn from sycamore, was seemingly common knowledge, and valuable knowledge at that, for it kept you warm and dry through the sometimes harsh winters. And anyway, being lucky to live right by the Somerset levels, how can you not enquire about the ever-changing world around you?
The countless hours I’ve spent walking the hedgerows and waysides were initially no more than simply what I had to do, because, living smack bang in the middle of South Somerset, it was 2.5 miles to the nearest bus into town, or more than 1.5 miles to the nearest pub that would serve me! Wild plants soon became an obsession, as I tried to discover which one was which…
During the last two decades, I have been researching and experimenting with wild plants, both for food and for medicines. As a traveller, I walk the hedgerows almost everyday, looking to find new wild plants and new places to forage.
My recent background is in medicinal horticulture, which gives me a thorough basic understanding of medicinal plant constituents and their actions. The underlying foundation of my wild food articles, walks, talks, courses, and indeed this whole website is just a foragers slant on an ancient adage…
‘Let food be medicine and let medicine be food!’
As well as my foraging walks and courses, I also teach horticulture workshops, write articles for Permaculture online, and regularly blog, tweet and upload videos on wild edible and medicinal plants to many corners of the world wide web.
Since hosting my first walk for Bushcraft school proprietors and instructors, (where I was shocked to discover the huge gap in knowledge that exists between degree level studies and ‘schools’ of outdoor learning), I have hosted more than 200 foraging walks and courses across Britain, in the last 7 years.
I hope you enjoy your time here! I am more than happy to answer your foraging and wild plants questions, so drop me a line using the contact page.