Tag Archives: environment

Foraging Adventure

Finding food in the Park

Sunday 10 September saw the much-anticipated Foraging Walk take place at Shrewsbury Park.  Around 35 local people attended the walk to learn which hedges, plants and trees to forage from, but also those to avoid. The park offers a huge array of plants which can be used as food in a raw state, cooked, or in the form of teas. Amongst others they sampled cherry plums, hops, sloes, ground elder, burdock, horseradish, yarrow and raspberries.

Kevin Godby, a local expert who works for Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA) on their Growing Greenwich Project demonstrated how to find the seeds, berries and fruit and how to safely consume them. He shared home-made jam and produce that he had made from berries found in the park, pointing out where they grew as he went along the trail.

Explaining the delights of hawthorn

 

Kevin said: “It’s important to remember that foraging is about eating a little from a range of different fruit and not lots from one place, as the body needs variety and too much from one place can tip the balance the wrong way.”

 Kris Inglis, Chair of FSP said “we have all learnt so much about what we can and can’t consume from the hedgerows. It is amazing to find so much in one space, which will change with every season. Until today we knew little of this intriguing aspect of the park.

Michael in action

Michael Stuart, a keen forager from Kilburn also attended to offer his experience; his key advice is to observe an area to get to know it and see how it changes through the seasons which will lead to a deeper appreciation of the environment. He recommends winter and spring for the variety of fresh leaves available to add to salad.

By Sandra Bauer

Foraging finds:

  • Hogweed
  • Mustard
  • Cherry plums
  • Hops
  • Sloes
  • Hawthorn berries
  • Ground elder
  • Ash key
  • Elderberries 
  • Burdock
  • Horseradish
  • Yarrow
  • Raspberries
  • Acorns
  • Birch syrup – harvest in march
  • Chickweed
  • Oregon grape
  • Lime tree

Foraging Walk Sunday 10 September at 2.30pm

Meet at the Garland Road entrance The free walk will take about 1.5 hours and finish at the car park off Plum Lane.

Join us as Kevin Godby leads this introduction to foraging walks, suitable for beginners. You will learn to identify around 18 common forageable species, be shown where they grow and taste some of them too!

You may also bring along something to take home the things you come across, if you wish.

Please wear suitable footwear and be aware we will be walking uphill. This walk is aimed at adults. If you have questions about the route re mobility please contact werfsp@gmail.com so we can help. No dogs, please.

This is an all-weathers walk!

Hedgehogs in the Park

An FSP member and dog walker has taken up the role of Hedgehog Guardian after discovering there is a growing population of ‘hogs’ inhabiting Shrewsbury Park. This is her initial idea that we hope to support and put in place – with your help.

Michelle says: “This hot and arid weather is a real problem for them. They can’t dig for food because the ground’s too hard, and of course, water is in scarce supply. One of the key things I was thinking about was putting ‘water stations’  (i.e.pet water bowls) in strategic locations in the park. If we can get people on board with helping to keep them regularly topped up with fresh water, then this would be fantastic. I’m happy to do this when I go out with my dogs of a morning, but if we can maybe get some ‘hedgehog champions’ on board, then that’d be great.”

Those of you who came on the May Bat Walk will know firsthand that hedgehogs are about in the night – we met one who simply froze when spotted in torchlights until we crept back to the path and let it get on with foraging for dinner.

Keep your eyes open and report any sightings. There will be a Hedgehog Stall at the Summer Festival to learn more about their habits and how to get involved in their welfare.

Recent Environmental walks

Butterfly Walk 22 July

Written by Iris White

We met at the car park in perfect weather for Butterflies, sunny, warm but with some cloud.

John Denton led us on a fascinating tour of Shrewsbury Park, pointing out the best habitat for different species. In the brambles and hedgerows we saw Large Whites, Small Whites, Green-veined whites, Large Skippers, Small Skippers and an Essex Skipper (not that common) lots of Ringlets and some Comma’s, one of which was very obliging and allowed John to get some really good photographs. We were also fortunate enough to see a Red Admiral and a Holly Blue!

In the meadow, there were lots of Meadow Brown butterflies, often in pairs flying in and out of the tall grass.

John had brought with him a folder of his own excellent photographs, many taken in his garden, which gave us the opportunity to look at the butterflies we were seeing up close, which made identification easier for us amateurs. One or two species eluded us, but that will make me, for one, more vigilant.

I would like to thank John on behalf of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park for giving up his time and for passing on some of his vast knowledge which, I’m sure, will make our walks much more interesting.

Tree ID Walk 16 July

Written by Kris Inglis

How high is that tree?
How high is that tree?

John Denton began with the basics of what we would find, how we could identify or compare  species and how the Park tree population continues to evolve. He led us from elder to strawberry tree to ash to horse chestnut, explaining leaf shapes and hybridisation. Clutching different leaves for use later we also learned about judging a tree’s age; the first big oak at the top of the Green Chain walk is about 128 years old, determined after measuring it two ways – girth and height. John pointed out bark as a means of identification and how to tell a crack willow by promptly disappearing into the undergrowth and snapping a twig which gave an obvious ‘CRACK’.

At the end of our wander we were shown the mystery tree, one of two giants in the Rowton Road open area. This is very probably a native British black poplar, it’s neighbour is a male hybrid poplar – and John’s open air story all came together.

As Iris said about the butterfly walk, it will encourage everyone to be more vigilant on their walks. Thanks to John’s and Jane’s research and preparation, the two hour excursion was very rewarding.  If you have a favourite tree, why not watch it over the seasons or take a picture for next year’s photo competition.