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Hedgerow Heroes

What you can discover, both edible and deadly

Hedgerow Heroes

Hedgerows, lanes

Hedgerows are bursting with delicious edibles but also some sneaky lookalikes, so be wary. Hedgerows can differ from one side to the other depending on their aspect. Dappled shade is perfect for ramsons, where hogweed seems happy practically everywhere, especially full sun. In the spring, look for primroses, violets, ramsons, flowering three cornered leek, but also lords and ladies, Narcissus, young foxgloves and plenty of toxic bulbs. If you are picking an Allium of some sort (garlic and onion family), sniff it to see if it has the right aroma. If not, it is most likely to be a bulb leaf of some sort which can cause anything from contact dermatitis to sickness.

In the summer months, you can find anything from wild strawberries, honeysuckle flowers, meadowsweet and pignut. Pignut straddles spring to summer and is in that tricky family called the Apiaceae family, otherwise known as the carrot family. This contains plants such as angelica, carrots , parsnips, rock samphire, lovage but also hemlock and hemlock water dropwort which are both deadly. Pignut is the most delicate of this family and getting the correct season helps identify it. Run your finger down its stem and if you find a tuber at the base, then you are in for a tasty treat!
Autumn is perfect for blackberries, elderberries, rose hips and other delicious fruits, but beware of black bryony which creeps through the hedgerows creating beautiful toxic necklaces of orange, red and green berries. Winter still holds plenty to forage for, from sorrel to hawthorn berries which cling on to the trees for months, providing plenty for wildlife to harvest.

Taking a walk down a country lane exploring hedgerows can be a great way of discovering food or honing in your identification skills, but also a perfect way of switching off and grounding yourself.

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