A new life in Ceredigion, in Wild West Wales


Our new home in Wales, the day after we arrived

This blog has been very quiet in recent months, and the reason was my life has been on hold as my family prepared to move from a small terraced house in Hastings (East Sussex) to a 6 acre smallholding on the Welsh coast, not far from the charming seaside village of New Quay. Having lived in urban south-east England for the whole of my 54 year life, this has been transformational for us. We have not moved for the foraging; there’s no way Ceredigion can compete with the ancient woodlands of Sussex and Kent when it comes to fungi, and if it was seaweeds I was interested in then we’d have gone further down to Pembrokeshire. The reason we’ve moved is because we believe big trouble is coming, and we wanted to get as far away from the overpopulated hinterland of London as possible, without having to face the dark winters and harsh climate of northern Scotland. This “cost of living crisis” is misnamed, because “crisis” implies it is temporary. We fear it is really the start of something much bigger, much worse, and permanent. We therefore plan to spend the coming months turning this land from an unorthodox “equestrian property” into both a place for producing food, and a haven for wildlife. It has plenty of potential for both, given that it has three long-abandoned wildlife ponds, along with a “canal” and a dam, plus a truly gigantic pile of well-rotted horse manure.

Totally overgrown wildlife pond, about the size of three tennis courts and currently dry because the “canal” which is supposed to feed it is silted up, and the dam partially collapsed. We have much work to do!.

Whether or not I start running public foraging events will depend on whether I can find a suitable location to do so. I have one experimental fungi foraging event scheduled near Newcastle Emlyn, but this is is already fully booked and I cannot add any more until I see how the first one goes (I am currently yet to visit the woodland where it will take place). I intend to spend much of this autumn exploring Wales in search of suitable places to take people fungi foraging, and I will be attempting to introduce all sorts of wild plants of foraging interest into our own land next year, but it is too early for me to plan any public events.

I will, however, be available for private foraging events in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, though this will be on the understanding that I have no detailed local knowledge — I have no “spots” I can take people to. It is more likely to involve people suggesting to me places that they would like to go foraging than the other way around, although I obviously have a list of places I am planning to visit. If you might be interested in booking a private event then please email me and we can work out the details (I am not expecting to make much money out of such activities, since they will all be experimental).

Also, if anybody reading this has some land they think might be suitable for running foraging events and would be interested in collaborating, please do get in touch.



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