Falconry and foraging in England’s National Forest

As someone who has actually spent a night beneath a bush in London’s Hyde Park in a poor effort to save money on a hotel (not recommended), the concept of being taught how to properly forage for food in England‘s public forests strikes particularly close to home.

With autumn rapidly approaching and the harvest season in full swing, the folks in charge of England’s National Forest have begun implementing survival school programs which aim to educate hikers on which shrubs, fruits, and fungi they can–and cannot–rely upon for survival in the wilderness.

But wait, there’s more. In addition to learning how to identify and prepare wild growing foliage, participants are also given lessons in the ancient art of falconry by learning how to not only fly, but also hunt with real Harris hawks.

Available in day, weekend, or weeklong courses, the foraging takes place in a 200 square mile area of central England where the National Forest is attempting to create multi-purpose woodland in one of the nation’s least forested areas. To date, over 7.8 million trees have been planted as part of the effort.

It’s nice to see programs like these taking place seeing as it wasn’t too long ago that England implemented a plan to sell off the nation’s public forests, only to see them rapidly rescind the move a month later.

[Image by Rennett Stowe on Flickr]