This month I shall be focusing on three berries. You can mix them together to make jam or bake into a pudding like crumble. All three can be found in the forest but the first one on the list you may have to hunt for. Bilberries ( Vaccinium myritillus) – these small, blue berries are a healthy edible snack (they contain vitamins A,P & C) and they are said to be good for improving eyesight. They look very similar to blueberries. They grow on low bushes in acidic & poor soils. They can be eaten fresh or used in cooking. Blackberries ( Rubus frutiuos) – its blackberry time of year again! They are just starting to turn black from early August onwards. Pick, eat and enjoy. Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) – back in June I told you about the lovely cordial made from the elderflowers. Now it’s the turn of the small black berries. These berries need to be cooked as they can give you an upset stomach otherwise. Check in a good guide book as always to make sure you have the correct tree. They too are rich in vitamin A & C and they can also …
Well it’s been a wet end to June, let’s hope the sun comes back for July. The warm weather will encourage us all to get outside once again and go and forage. It will be worth it too, especially for the first on my edibles list to look out for: Wild Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) – native to Britain, this bramble may get over looked as it grows with Blackberry brambles. But once you find them you will notice the difference. They grow in our hedgerows in & around our woods. The fruit is smaller than our shop brought raspberry but has an inhas an intense flavour! Enjoy them fresh off the bush. Smooth Sow-Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) – A common weed I bet you have pulled up and thought nothing more but it is in fact edible. They are found widespread and abundant in wayside places and gardens. Check out the description first in a good book as they look similar to the prickly sow thistle but lack the prickles. They can be eaten raw in salads, cooked in soups or steamed. Pick the leaves when young and off the top of the plant. Borage (Borago officinalis) …
5,000 copies of The Forest Bee Autumn 2016 edition will be going out across the Forest and surrounding towns at the start of September. This edition runs through to the end of December. It costs just £5 to list up to 3 courses, then £3 for each additional one, and include free listings on our very popular website. Advertising rates are: £22 for 1/8 page £38 for 1/4 page £75 for 1/2 page £130 for full page £150 for premium back page. As each brochure stays current for all 4 months, this represents this represents extremely good value. Deadline is 31st July PS Just for 2016, advertisers who take out 1/4 page or more can have a web advert for just £5 per edition, with a click through link direct to your website.
We’ve been adding and updating our website to include some new summer workshops. Just search ‘summer’ and see what’s there.
Foraging news for June with Herbal Ways.net This first month of early summer brings the hope of warmer weather and outside fun. So what better way to celebrate then by going into the woods to see what’s there to forage. Remember not to pick anything unless you are 100% sure, take a good identification book and ask permission where needed. First up is a personal favourite of mine: Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra) – heavily scented, creamy white blooms made up of tiny flowers hang readily at this time of year from the Elder. It is a small, deciduous tree or shrub and is commonly found growing in hedgerows, waste lands and woods. These flowers can be dried and used as a tea or made into a delicious drink or ice lolly. Simply gather 12 elderflower heads, shake off insects, and add to a clean bucket. Add rind & juice of 2 lemons, 300 to 450g caster sugar (depends how sweet you like it), 4 litres water & 3tbsp apple cider vinegar. Stir and leave covered for 24hrs. Strain & bottle, drink or add to lolly moulds and freeze. Keep in cool place or freeze to use later. Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) …
May is a wonderful time to be out foraging in the forest with the blue haze of the bluebells and the sound of the cuckoo. Amongst the bluebells the delicate white flowers of the wood sorrel can be seen. Wood-sorrel (Oxalis Acetosella) is easily identified with its clover like leaves but as always, and with anything that you forage, make sure you know that your identification is correct. The leaves and flowers of wood sorrel can be added to salads. On the hedgerows and forest paths Garlic mustard (Alliaria Petiolata) can be found. Its garlic smell makes identification easier. The leaves also can be added to salads or made into a sauce. A tree that you may find more in parks than forests is the Lime tree ( Tilia Europoea).The flowers, known as Linden flowers, make a wonderful, soothing tea. Just add 1 tsp to a cup of boiling water, infuse 10 mins, strain and drink. The leaves can also be added to salads.
Singing for Breathing is for people diagnosed with COPD and other lung conditions. It’s a fun way to help your breathing & confidence. All levels of ability or singing experience welcome. £3 or what you can afford, or free for some conditions. 2-3 pm, Thursdays from 11th January for 12 weeks and more. Lydney Community Centre, Naas Lane, Lydney, GL15 5AT. Contact Kirsty Abraham on 08906 789683, email email@example.com, website www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/singing-for-lung-health/join-a-group
It’s been a lovely Easter and the sun (when its out!) has some real warmth to it. This is great news for all the spring plants that have been bursting up. There are still plenty of previously mentioned plants about and here are some more to add to your salads or soups. Remember; always make sure you are 100% sure that you know what the plant is that you are picking and always get the landowners permission where needed. Ladies smock or cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratense) – This delicate plant is in the cabbage family & grows in fields, woods and by streams. It has widely separated singly-pinnate leaves that appear alternately on the hairless stem. The dark green & sometime reddened leaflets are fine & feathery. The flowers are pink or white with a yellow centre. Like its close relative Hairy bittercress, its leaves are eaten in salads, having a hot peppery flavour & the flowers, with their milder taste, can be eaten too. DAISY (BELLIS PERENNIS) – The folk name for Daisy is bruisewort and it is great for rubbing onto skin after tumbling over (a hazard whilst out foraging!) Just crush some flowers and leaves until …
Get your Summer 2016 edition from your local shop, leisure centre, library, tourist centre, doctors or dentists – they’re on the way out now! Our website had been updated with lots of new courses and activities for you to try in the next few months. So, once we’ve done the distribution, all your volunteers here at The Forest Bee will be taking a well earned break, but we certainly would be very grateful for your help in the future, if you can offer just a few hours every few months, or can make a regular commitment, we’d love to hear from you.
For all levels and abilities. Yoga has stood the test of time and is as relevant now as it was thousands of years ago. Learn how to maintain or improve flexibility and strength, settle an unruly mind, improve energy levels and enjoy life to the full through asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing practices), relaxation and meditation. £7 drop- in rate or £60 for 10 sessions. Also Pregnancy Yoga by arrangement. Newnham: Mondays, 10-11.30am Northwood Green: Mondays 5.30-7.00pm Huntley: Tuesday 1.00-2.30pm Littledean: Wednesday (Intermediate), 7.30-9.00pm Berry Hill: Thursdays (for the 50+), 4.15-5.45pm Contact Glenys on 01594 823581, email firstname.lastname@example.org
A regular Pilates session will give you a strong centre to work from. Strengthening the small supporting muscles, which are often ignored in regular conditioning programs, will allow you to move more freely and help you to stabilise your body in everyday or more demanding physical activities. Pay as you attend – £6 per hour session. 2pm to 3pm, every Wednesday St Briavels Assembly Rooms, East Street, St. Briavels, GL15 6TG. Contact Penny Jones on 01291 627243 or 07787 193302, email email@example.com, website www.pennyjonesfitness.co.uk
Suitable for beginners, sparring optional. Grades from white to black. £6/£7 per session. Mondays: Kids 6.15pm, Adults 7.15pm (other classes available – see our website). Forest Fighting Gym, Miners Hall, Cinderford or Thursdays 6.45-7.45pm Naas Lane Community Centre, Lydney. Forest Fighting Gym, Miners Hall, Wesley Rd, Denecroft, GL14 2JN. Contact Michelle Gardiner on 07790025743, email firstname.lastname@example.org, wbsite www.whitelotus.co.uk We now have a Boxing Gym – contact Michelle for more details.
The best fitness activity !!! Suitable for those who don’t think they can dance. Tuesdays, 10-11am, Naas Lane Community Centre, Lydney GL15 5PB , Thursdays 10-11am, Woolaston Memorial Hall, Netherend, Woolaston, GL15 6NW. Other classes available.£5 per session, all classes ongoing. Contact Michelle Gardiner on 07790025743, email email@example.com, website www.whitelotus.co.uk
For health and relaxation, suitable for all. Seated and standing – people with disabilities welcome. Mondays: 11am-12.oonoon ongoing, Foxes Bridge Hub, Valley Road, Cinderford, GL14 2LJ. £3 per session. Wednesdays: 9.30-10.30am, Foxes Bridge Hub, Valley Road, Cinderford, GL14 2LJ. £5 per session. Contact Michelle Gardiner on 07790025743, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.whitelotus.co.uk
A gentle workout for the whole body – toning muscles, improving balance and increasing flexibility. Suitable for all – exercises can be adapted. £5 per session, 11am-12noon, Wednesdays ongoing. Lydney Community Centre, Naas Lane, Lydney GL15 5PB. Contact Michelle Gardiner on 07790025743, email email@example.com, website www.whitelotus.co.uk
Woodturning club open to all ages and levels. Starting out, expert or just interested in finding out more? Feel free to attend a meeting. First visit free. 7:00pm – 10:00pm, 3rd Wednesday of each month. Village Hall, Weston under Penyard, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 7PA. Contact Paul Hannaby on 01594 544417, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.forestwoodturners.co.uk.
Not sure if you want to take up woodturning or just looking for a gift to give someone? The two hour taster course is intended for complete novices. £50, times/dates to suit. Windrush, High Street, Drybrook, GL17 9ET. Contact Paul Hannaby on 01594 544417, email email@example.com, website www.hannaby.com
Individual tuition from beginners to advanced by an AWGB approved tutor. Courses tailored to your needs. Up to two students can be accommodated. £140 per day, 10am – 5pm, by arrangement Windrush, High Street, Drybrook, GL17 9ET. Contact Paul Hannaby on 01594 544417, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.hannaby.com
Yes, you can get them on the internet, but this is specifically tailored to your needs, with personal feedback and guidance. Small groups. From £40 per session, small groups. Contact Jaqui on 01594 861278 or 07919 851669, email email@example.com, website www.jaquifabian.co.uk.
The woods and shady riverside banks are the best places to look for Wild Garlic, also known as Ramsons (Allium ursinum). The leaves are broad, flat and bright green and the whole plant gives off an unmistakable garlic odour. The flowers appear in April and are white. The whole plant is edible but it is an offence to dig up bulbs if it’s not your land. The leaves and flowers can be added to salads. I like to add chopped leaves to mayonnaise or you can ferment them for a longer shelf life too. Sweet Violet (Viola odorata) These pretty bluish-violet flowers give off a heady fragrance when disturbed. The flowers can be added to salads or sugared to use as cake decorations. To sugar the flowers (you can also add primrose flowers & other edibles if out); lightly beat 1 egg white with 1 tsp water. Paint eggwash over flower, covering back & front. Put ¼ cup caster sugar in a bowl and dip the flowers in, covering well. Then leave to dry on baking paper tray 1 to 2 days until hardened. Store in a dry, dark place. I hope you have some foraging …
We have some new foragers about to take over this column, but in the meantime, here are the ones from the previous two years – happy foraging! FORAGING NEWS FEBRUARY WITH HERBAL WAYS Imbolc is just around the corner and already I have spotted indications of spring. The lamb’s tails on the hazel are beginning and snowdrops are blooming, along with lesser Celandine. As we journey on through February there should be many more plants visible to forage. One to look out for is pine pollen (as long as you aren’t allergic to it). In some areas of the forest where lots of pine grows, the floor can become carpeted in the yellow / golden dust, given off from the male catkins. It contains many vitamins and minerals and as it has over 21 amino acids and all 8 essential amino acids it is also a protein. The male catkins are found mostly at the end of branches. To harvest pollen look for the light – coloured catkins on the tip of the branches. Female cones are darker and thicker than the male cones/ catkins. To harvest simply place a plastic bag over the catkin and gently shake, continue this …
Get yourself out there one of these bright beautiful frosty mornings, whether you forage or not, it’ll be a great boost for your health, especially after the excesses of the festive season just gone. This is a mix of Christopher Robbins’ Spring 2017 Forest Bee Column and Jessie’s Foraging News from last year. just getting yourself out there on one of these bright sunny frosty mornings is a great lift, The cold months of winter have smile and frowns for foragers. The smiles are having no leaves on the deciduous trees. The view in the trees is much further and also you can see more. The yellow, scrambled-eggs looking bracket fungi, Chicken of the Woods is much easier to spot. These are usually on oak trunks. The frowns are because the forest floor is covered with leaves that hide treats like Chestnuts and edible fungi. But walking in the winter forest has its own delights. The animals can be seen before they take flight and the introduced larch trees leave a fine, golden, needle covering that brightens the dark brown litter, especially so on sunny days. But plants are determined beings. Already by the end of January in mild winters …
To keep going and growing, we need your help! ‘The Forest Bee’ is run totally by volunteers, but with our growing success we are now struggling under the weight of the work – please come an help if you can. Join our Management Committee Help us grow ‘The Forest Bee’ into an even more useful resource for the people of the Forest of Dean. The Committee meets most months, usually on a Tuesday or Thursday morning. We are a friendly bunch with love of the Forest and its people at our hearts. New ideas to help support the local community are always welcome. We are happy to reimburse your travel expenses. Distributors About 1-4 hours 3 times a year, plus a few top-ups when you are out and about. Travel costs will be reimbursed. Areas we could do with more help in are: Drybrook, Ross-on-Wye, Soudley, Chepstow, Distributors – just a few hours 3 times a year for Bream, Chepstow, Drybrook, Llandogo, Mitcheldean, Longhope, St Briavels, Llandogo, Newland and Redbrook, Mitcheldean Longhope, Bream. Ideally you will collect from Lower Lydbrook, but if that doesn’t work for you we’ll get the brochures to you somehow. Next issue comes out at the …
The Forest Bee is looking for a young person (or two) to develop our new ‘Young Persons’ section. Are you studying for a Degree, HND or OND in Business or Media, and would you like a real live project to work on to develop your skills and enhance your CV? We at The Forest Bee would like to develop a section specifically for the young people of the Forest of Dean area. There are two strands to this: Research what is available locally to support young people in the voluntary sector. In your section, you can choose to donate editorial space of around 200 words to a voluntary group you feel are doing some excellent work to support young people locally, or you may choose to feature a couple of organisations, sharing the space between them. Research groups, courses and activities available locally, contact the organisations and see if they would like to ‘list’ their groups/courses/workshops in our next edition of The Forest Bee. It only costs £5 for up to 3 listings in our brochure, and they then get free listings on our website. Should you choose to, you can also help grow our social media presence. We already …
Experience the benefits of yoga from a chair – practicing simple movements, breathing and relaxation techniques. This practice suits older people and those with any health conditions which makes regular yoga inaccessible. Improving health and wellbeing in a relaxed friendly group! Wednesday afternoons, 2 -3 pm, ongoing, term times. £16 for a 4 week course *, Kings Meade Community Rooms, Coleford, GL16 8RS. * Kings Meade Resident discount available Coleford Contact Ali Rose on 07883678629, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.yogawithalirose.co.uk
Pilates with Esther – Matwork – Invest in your body and develop good posture, strength, flexibility and balance in a fun way. Costs vary – contact Esther for details. 7-8pm, 10 weeks starting Tuesday 9th January. Dene Magna School, Mitcheldean, GL17 0DU (Contact Dene Magna for details) 9.30-10.30am, 11 weeks starting Friday 5th January. Bishopswood Village Hall, Kerne Bridge, HR9 5QT Contact Esther Fransham on 01452 760120 or 07711 832042, email email@example.com, website www.estherf.com
Discover a whole new way of moving more freely. The sessions are done within your own ability, range of movement and suit both men and women. Costs vary – contact Esther for details. 11.30-12.30pm, 10 weeks starting Friday 5th January, The Club, High Street, Newnham-on-Severn, GL14 1BS 6-7pm, 10 weeks starting Tuesday 9th January, Dene Magna School, Mitcheldean, GL17 0DU. Contact Dene Magna for details. Contact Esther Fransham on 01452 760120 or 07711 832042, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.estherf.com
Pottery for all ages and abilities. Held in the Function Room at the Salvation Army Hub. £3.50 per session, 11am – 1pm, Fridays ongoing. Salvation Army, 43 North Road, Broadwell, GL16 7BX. For more details and to book your place, please ring 01594 839106. More details on our website, www.salvationarmy-fod.org.uk
All ages and abilities welcome. Held in the bar area at the Salvation Army Hub. 11am to 2pm, Mondays, weekly. Salvation Army Forest of Dean, 43 North Road, Broadwell, GL16 7BX. Contact Emma Cornish for more details on 01594 839106, email email@example.com, website www.salvationarmy-fod.org.uk
An opportunity to develop your cookery and baking skills. Ideal for beginners. Prior booking is essential. Held in the Salvation Army kitchen. £56.00 for 7 weeks including ingredients (this course is subsidised). 2.00-4.00pm, 7 weeks. Contact us for next start date. Salvation Army Forest of Dean, 43 North Road, Broadwell, GL16 7BX. Contact Shona Marshall 01594 839106 or 07765 111405, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.salvationarmy-fod.org.uk