Foraging at Eden Valley Glamping

There is something surprisingly very satisfying about foraging the fields and hedgerows of the British countryside. It is an activity that requires you to be in step with the seasons, on foot, curious and creative. Since moving here, we have been slowly building our own foraging map of our location in the Eden Valley. Our map identifies what grows, where it grows and when it is ready to harvest. This knowledge gathered at no expense whatsoever, we happily share with anyone who has an interest. Since being here we have collected, crab apples, blackberries, sloes, elderflowers, elderberries, cob nuts, and chestnuts.

sloe bush eden valley glampingBlackthorn is common in the hedgerows of Cumbria and produces sloes in late autumn

There are also edible fungi around, but we are cautious, due to concerns of incorrect identification. As the instructor on a fungi identification course put it “You can eat all varieties of fungi but some only once.”  The table below shows what we collect and when it is available. We can tell you where various things grow when you come and visit. I enjoy running and will often to survey the local hedgerows for foraging potential as I run.

foraging table eden valley glamping

We are discovering ever more interesting and enjoyable ways of using nature’s produce. We have much to learn but since moving we have made the following:

From Elderflowers – Cordial, infused gins, jams

From Elderberries – Infused gins, jellies, balsamic vinegars

From Blackberries – Jams, jellies, pies, crumbles, balsamic vinegar

Blackberry vinegar,  rum infusions, gin infusions

From Sloes – Sloe gin

From Crab apples – Jellies

vinegars eden valley glamping

As well as enjoying the fruits of our labor ourselves we have also enjoyed giving foraged gifts to our family and friends. We have recently done some hedge planting behind each of our three glamping pods and have selected native species blackthorn with a dash of field maple, hazel, wild cherry and hawthorn so in time we hope to see sloes, cherries, and cobnuts on-site at Eden Valley Glamping.

Building Eden Valley Glamping

Well the moment has finally come when the glamping site is open for business. It has taken a while to find a suitable location, move, navigate planning and build the site so it seems appropriate to reflect on this a little.

Building stuff has given our lives a greater sense of meaning and purpose whether it is in the field of manufacturing, civil engineering, gardens, relationships, fitness or life experience. Not all the things we build last. When our boys were young we all loved our beach holidays on the Kent coast and would regularly build massive sand castles with elaborate deep defensive pits and walls against the incoming tide. We found in every case that sand structures, on sand foundations, when the tide is coming in do not last long.  I guess we already knew this and perhaps we were in reality building relationships with our boys which we hope will last.

Dreams are fragile things and can be killed by a sneer or a yawn. For a long time we were not quite sure if our dream to build a glamping site was no more than a little escapist therapy over a glass of wine after a week at work.  I was reflecting on the film Field of Dreams where Ray Kinsella, a novice corn farmer, played by Kevin Costner, builds a base ball field in the middle of a corn field after hearing a voice say “if you build it he will come”. In our case there were no audible voices just a growing conviction to develop a rural tourism business to offer slowness, simplicity and comfort. We realise the notions of slower and simpler run counter to the faster more complicated way things are generally heading but maybe we lost some things of value in gaining the many advantages of modern living?

Being human means we are susceptible to fears, uncertainty and doubts as we build. At different times we were not sure if we would be able to start building, complete the building and “if we built it they would come”? In all these matters our Christian faith has helped us, all we had to do is simply to stand. So we stand in the promise and hold on to the dream.