Local chef and forage expert John Crouch led a walk from Hesket Newmarket to Caldbeck on a beautiful May morning. We had hardly taken a few steps into the woodland before he found things to entice the senses. What appeared to be an ordinary leaf or flower when crushed would produce a fragrance of garlic, lemon, aniseed and many others. As we collected, we were told ways it could be prepared and provided with titbits of historical and literary information, such as the fact that the branches of hazel tree were once used to make arrows because they grow in such an unwavering line. We passed banks of wild garlic flowers and stood under many trees in full blossom. We watched the two rivers converge at Waters Meeting and stood at the empty river bed further on. We discovered the mouse restaurant under the hazel tree and empty teeth marked shells.
After our walk we returned to the Caldbeck Parish Hall for lunch and a cooking demonstration using some of the recently foraged produce. John was most entertaining and informative, drawing on his extensive knowledge of domestic life at Dove Cottage. Everything tasted wonderful and the recipes were uncomplicated. Further events are planned. Look out for more information. The event was supported for NFG by the Wordsworth Trust.