Wild Foods of Stanmer Park, Brighton

An in-depth wild food discovery walk

Mentored by

Fergus The Forager

Fergus the Forager

Organisation links
Location address: Brighton, BN1 7JT
Chosen age group:

Ages: 18+ years

Available tickets:
Standard £60
Next date: None - Register your interest
What inspires me
We are always forgetting this world though each day it kisses us with its lavish steaming breath though the earth drums in our ears though the flowers turn as we walk by amazed at our forgetfulness (Daverick Leggett) Drawing on a 30-year wealth of experiential knowledge, wild food expert Fergus Drennan will take you on a foraging journey that reveals the secret potential in even the most familiar of wild plants, the very plants you walk by every day. The humble bramble or blackberry will be revealed to be, on the contrary, a majestic beast of endless possibilities, native trees will be enticed to deliver up the sweetly nuanced complexity of molasses without a sugar cane plant in sight, and in one unexpected bite of crunchy and savoury abundance, you will experience the genuinely unique opportunity to eat 150 different wild greens all at once. On this wild food walk participants will be provided with clear information on the foraging basics, while simultaneously looking deeply into the skills required to get the maximum benefit from wild plants. This includes precise tips and guidance for working with the 20-30 specific plants and fungi encountered on location, as well as detailed instruction regarding processes and techniques, for example, salt pickling, vinegar pickling, lacto-fermenting, cordial making, wine and spirit making, dehydrating, fruit leather creation, seasonings, and other preserving and food preparation techniques. In many instances, those techniques will be brought to life by tasting the fruits of such labour.
About your mentor
Fergus The Forager
Fergus the Forager
Foraging is a life-long learning process, and Fergus has been at it for 30 years. Not only does he have great depths of knowledge in all the key aspects of identification, processing, use and best sustainable practice, but he combines it with a fun and engaging manner that brings the craft to life and makes it accessible to all. He has been described by his foraging instructor peers as "the Starship Enterprise of foraging". Forager Mark Williams enthused: "We need gastronauts like Star Fleet Commander Drennan to chart new worlds..." His favourite was when he was described as "Heston Blumenthal, Rene Redzepi, and Pascal Bauder, rolled into one.” He is inspired to offer this string of courses because there is often the misconception that, in order to really get to know wild plants, you need to visit wild places, or at least the countryside. Certainly that is good to do, but it doesn't fully appreciate the incredible biodiversity to be found in cities, and parks and green spaces in particular. Here biodiversity simply means a unique wealth of plants. Many will be generally wild, others more feral or ornamental, yet from a foraging perspective, whatever their pedigree, they offer unique learning experiences. And, wild food knowledge is usually best developed near to where you live, and in places it is convenient to visit regularly throughout the year.
This is a new course, hence no reviews yet. However, the course follows the same engaging format as my London Parks courses, so the lovely reviews I've received for those I hope and anticipate will be similar for this course. Her's a selection: Even after almost a lifetime spent experimenting with, cooking and writing about food I learnt so much more in a few hours of foraging with Fergus. He is immensely knowledgeable as well as inventive, with a humorous touch. Josceline Dimbleby 1st Sept 2019 Fergus was extremely knowledgeable, personable and kept the entire group captivated with stories and information throughout the entire course. He knew how to educate us without bombarding us all with too much information. his enthusiasm is infectious and I came away totally inspired! Charlotte October 2019 Fergus was a brilliant guide and gave a really interesting intro to wild food. We were amazed at how much is around us. Fergus kept us interested and entertained throughout. His passion for wild food and his desire to have fun and be creative with it was evident during the entire session. We'd recommend this experience to anyone who's interested in foraging or just fancies learning something new / doing something different in London. Thanks Fergus! Joanna November 2019 A really great way to take a 'more observant' meander around one of London's beautiful woodland parks. Fergus retained the group's attention with wit, charm and invaluable wisdom on all manner of wild foods. A genuine guy, imparting expert' forager's knowledge about how to identify, prepare, store and eat foods with samples on the ready, made this 3+ hour stroll absolutely fly by! My second forage adventure with Fergus and already looking forward to doing another one! Highly recommend for inquisitive youngsters and grown-up kids alike. :) Chris November 2019 Fergus' walks are like a city food tour but 10x better! You'll taste more than you could ever fit in a city food tour (I didn't count, but it felt like we were tasting something new every couple of minutes and in 3.5h that's a lot!), you will use your five senses, listen to funny stories, and pick up lots of tips and memorable facts along the way. And they are great for kids and dogs as they can run around outside without the risk of getting lost of run over! These walks are really one of a kind. They bring together Fergus' passion (his excitement is contagious), patience (you can ask him hundreds of questions including 'whats this?' repeatedly and he doesn't seem to mind, on the contrary!) and his culinary and experimental talents (going beyond what you will read in books), such that it would be difficult for anyone else to top these walks. Maria November 2019
Learning aims
Aim 1
To be able to appeciate the wealth of wild food abundunce that surrounds us.
Aim 3
Learn key wild food preservation and processing techniques.
Aim 5
Experience the added learning that comes from a multi-sensory approach to wild foods, through touch, taste, smell, sight, and indeed listening.
Aim 2
Develop a clear understanding of how to gather seasonally and sustainably for both food and medicine.
Aim 4
Discover that although the aim here is to render invisible food visible, sometimes it is the journey that is more important than the destination.
What we'll do
On each fun, informative, and engaging course, expect to taste 10-15 different wild food creations, including my soon to be world-famous 150-different-plants-all-at-once biscuits! Most tasters are suitable for vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free diets. A full list of plants/fungi encountered will be given to each participant. Please note that in order to respectfully comply with park bylaws we will not be gathering or picking any plants or fungi (apart from tiny samokleas to aid identification). Many can simply be touched, smelt, and important visual characteristics observed where they are, in situ. Where tasting of the raw plant provides interesting information, I will provide fresh samples from elsewhere to make sure you don't miss out!
Pricing information
Ticket nameStandard
Where we'll be
Stanmer Park Road, Brighton, Brighton and Hove, BN1 7JT
Basic DBS
Risk Assessment
Public Liability Insurance
First Aid Training
First Aid Kit

Please note

Please note, it is the responsibility of the booker to satisfy themselves about the adequacy of the safety measures. This platform is merely an introducer and does not verify the items listed here.

Cancellation Policy
No refunds are given except in the case of a cancellation by the Mentor.100% refund offered with one month's notice. No refund after that. Although, of course, valid and often unexpected occurrences may arise (and therefore occur in the month leading up to the course) that result in non-attendance, I'm increasingly finding that when there is no refund offered for this period, nearly 100% of attendees show up, but with a refund, often people don't attend. No refund helps focus intention to attend! If you can't, consider offering your place to a friend or relation instead. Please note that if asking to transfer to a later (or earlier) course date than the one you are booked on, I will (and you should) understand this to be the same as a cancellation, and no refund will be given. However, if you give me 1 month's notice AND there is space on the other course (in the same year) you wish to attend, I will happily transfer you.

My experience is an educational activity and the 14-day cooling-off period under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 therefore applies. After the 14 day period my standard policy will apply.

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