Foraging rules & guidelines in Scotland
Foraging in Scotland is a fun and exciting way to get up close to nature and wildlife, and then getting to taste the fruits of your labour afterwards. However, there are a few rules to follow along the way:
- In line with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to collect wild plants or fungi on a National Nature Reserve (NNR) or a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
- Be careful what you pick – some species of mushroom and fungi are poisonous and can even be fatal if eaten. Make sure to read up on the various specious beforehand, as well as ensure the information is reliable and up to date. Have a read of the Scottish Wild Mushroom Code | PDF 0.5MB to get you started.
- Only take what you can use – be mindful to leave enough for everyone, including the wildlife who call the forest home.
When is the best time to go foraging?
Well that all depends on what you are looking to forage. In January, head out foraging for winter fruits and nuts, such as acorns, blackberries and chestnuts, in June keep your eyes peeled for edible flowers, such as elder and honeysuckle, or in September go rummaging for wild berries, such as raspberries, strawberries and sloes.
Find out more about what to look for month-to-month in Scotland.
Foraging for kids
Taking the kids out foraging is a great way to get them in tune with nature, teach them about their surroundings, and can also be a really educational experience. Foraging could be a great opportunity to explore a new corner of Scotland that you haven’t visited before where you can teach the wee ones about foraging; what to pick, what not to pick, where to pick from (i.e. not beside a road or place where there are dog walkers), and making sure they check what they pick with an adult first to ensure it is safe.
Various places around Scotland boast fascinating courses and events that allows you get involved in foraging. Meet local foragers for a natural treasure hunt within the Cromlix grounds near Dunblane, enjoy a coastal foraging course with Galloway Wild Foods in Dumfries & Galloway or join a Wildwood Bushcraft in the Highlands, and learn what to forage and how to cook it.