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ForestHarvest: non-timber forest products in Scotland 



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News / Offers and requests


Launch of the Scottish Wild Harvests Association

- at the Big Tent Festival, 25-26 July 2009

31 July 2009

The Scottish Wild Harvests Association (SWHA) held its launch event as part of the Big Tent festival's new Wild About Wood zone, in the idyllic Falkand Palace orchard. Well-known chef and champion of locally-sourced food, Christopher Trotter, welcomed the new association and announced its formal launch. A lively discussion session followed, and discussions continued throughout the weekend at the SWHA stall - helped along by a bucket full of foraged cherries!

This was a great start for a group which will provide mutual support for Scotland's wild harvests businesses, while helping to build a well-informed network of foragers, and raise awareness of sustainable harvesting codes and practices. SWHA is looking for more members, both full and associate - join now to take advantage of the introductory membership rate.

A Google map for foragers

20 July 2009 is a new attempt to let people map their favourite local foraging sites, started by a forager who stays just south of Edinburgh. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Wild Harvests of Scotland events, April 09 - report published

5 June 2009

A full report of April's Wild Harvests events is now available (PDF document 239KB)

Click here for background information about these events.

Wild garlic coming out of our ears?

27 April 2009

The Wild Harvests events earlier this month generated some welcome media interest in Scotland's wild harvests, and in the new Scottish Wild Harvests Association:

The Guardian, 27 April 2009: "Wild harvest reaps big rewards in foraging rush"

Wild Harvests of Scotland: building a sustainable forest culture

Birnam Arts & Conference Centre and Hilton Dunkeld House, Perthshire, Wednesday 15th & Thursday 16th April 2009

Two days of events to celebrate and develop Scotland’s wild and woodland products sector

The programe included:
• The Wild Harvests of Scotland Conference
• A “Slow Food” feast
• An evening celebrating the Orchards of Scotland
• The inaugural meeting of the Scottish Wild Harvests Trade Association

More information here.

Funding for looking at collaborative marketing opportunities for Scottish berries

- an announcement from Berry Scotland

30 March 2009

"Imagine Scottish berries at every meal time as soup, salads, puddings or drinks. Imagine replacing the fatty pie or chocolate bar with a tub of Scottish berries - or giving blueberries to older people or people with high blood pressure and raspberries to people with high fat diet.

"Why not? We can change the food we eat if we work together. Berry Scotland has been given funding to glimpse into that future and see if it has support.

"If you have ideas or would like help in getting a berry-based business off the ground we need your input. Contact Anne Thomson on 01786 834342 or click here to email Anne."

Woodland Bounty - wild harvests in the Borders

Buccleuch Arms Hotel, St Boswells, 15 February 2009

24 February 2009

This event was for everyone with an interest in foraging and wild harvesting - with speakers on wild herbs, traditional plant lore and sustainable harvesting, demonstrations of birch sap tapping and mushroom log inoculation, and wild food & drink tasters. Best of all, it was a chance to meet other people with an interest in foraging and wild harvests.

The day was a great success, with over 70 people attending, and it may be the start of something new - a Foragers' Forum for the Scottish Borders.

There is a report of the event, with links to contacts, info & suppliers, on the Reforesting Scotland website.

Ways forward for Scotland's Wild Harvests Businesses

Glasgow (Pollok Visitor Centre), Thurs 20 November 2008

Abriachan Village Hall, near Inverness, Wed 26 November 2008

14 January 2009

This pair of meetings provided a chance for people across the Wild Harvests sector to meet each other and to find out about issues that concern them as a group, including the Scottish Working Woods label, new government funding, and access rights and responsibilities.

Each meeting also discussed ideas for a dedicated trade association – a collective presence to aid access to funding, training and marketing opportunities, and to give the sector a voice in policy decisions.

A broad range of businesses and interests were represented at the meetings. Participants were very positive about the benefits of meeting each other and about future chances for building and strengthening networks.

As a result of the meeting, a steering group was been formed to take forward plans for a Scottish Wild Harvests trade association.

The full report on the meetings is available here (PDF document 381KB)

VisitScotland's new campaign highlights wild food

2 October 2008

National tourism organisation VisitScotland has developed a new campaign on its website to highlight all the food based events happening in Scotland this autumn including a number of foraging weekends. The Building up an Appetite campaign details tour operators and accommodation providers who offer foraging courses, many of which also incorporate cookery skills and bushcraft techniques.

Cowberries in Scotland - information request

1 October 2008

"I am looking for information on the presence and harvest of the cowberry in Northern Scotland for the purpose of including it in a children's book on a circumpolar/circumboreal look at the species.

More particularly, I am looking for an entry from a student between the ages of 10 and 13 which would include a letter about the berry (i.e. berry-picking,how it is used, etc.) a drawing, and a recipe from his/her family.

This book will be supplementary to the book PARTRIDGEBERRY, EDBERRY, LINGONBERRY, TOO just released (in August) by Boulder Publications in Newfoundland.

The book in process has entries from children in Alaska, Cape Breton, Nunavut, Saskatchemwan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Norway, Sweden, and Japan.

I am very determined to include information on the berry in Scotland and a student entry for this global look at the species.

I hope you are able to provide a contact person for me."

Ellen Bryan Obed

Fungi gathering survey: "What’s in your basket?" - English and Polish language versions

30 September 2008

Reforesting Scotland is carrying out a survey in order to understand gathering on a national scale. Gathering fungi appears to be becoming increasingly popular and we want to ensure that this continues to be something everyone can enjoy. The survey will inform our work promoting sustainable wild harvesting.

Click here to take part in the survey.

Click here to download a printable survey.


Zbieranie grzybów zdaje się zyskiwać na popularności. Organizacja Zalesianie Szkocji przeprowadza tę ankietę, aby w ramach naszej promocji ekologicznego korzystania z owoców natury oraz poznać zwyczaje zbierania grzybów w całym kraju. Pragniemy dowiedzieć się jakiego rodzaju grzyby są zbierane i w jakich ilościach.

Prosimy kliknąć tutaj, aby pobrać polską wersję ankiety.

Click here to take survey.

Bumper harvest of wild fungi - but risks remain the same

11 September 2008

Conditions this year have meant a massive harvest of edible fungi in Scotland, which more and more people are using and enjoying. But a recent high profile poisoning case - Nicholas Evans, author of The Horse Whisperer - reminds us of the dangers.

Many wild fungi are edible, many aren't, and a few are extremely poisonous. There is no substitute for knowledge: a good guide book is essential, and first-hand experience of going out foraging with an expert is always the best way to learn. Look out for notices of fungus forays around your area, and never, ever eat any fungus you cannot reliably identify.

"Horse Whisperer author taken ill" - BBC News

"Food for thought" - Aberdeen Press and Journal

"Wild fungi: delicous or deadly?" - BBC Scotland News

Rural Alternatives case studies published

23rd June 2008

After nearly two and a half years of working with four partner community woodland groups, Reforesting Scotland's Rural Alternatives project has now come to an end. Outputs from the project have been published on the Reforesting Scotland website, including articles, reports, and six case studies of non-timber forest product-based enterprises and activities - available to download on the new Rural Alternatives Shared Futures project reports page.

Non Timber Forest Products at Royal Highland Show

23rd June 2008

Croft7 were invited to join the Lantra stall on 19 June at this year's Royal Highland Show.

Lantra are celebrating the success of their Online Competence Framework for Crofters: Croft7 were there to demonstrate various aspects of their business, including hazel and willow work, natural dyeing, and fruiting landscapes/forest gardening.

More details on the Lantra website.

Support and networking for NTFP businesses

16th June 2008

Reforesting Scotland has just launched its new Wild Harvests Sector Support project. This follows on from previous work such as last year's Scottish NTFP Sector Research and Development project and the 2006 Wild Harvests seminar. The first planned project activity is to hold two open meetings, one in the north and one in the south of the country, to give people from the whole range of businesses, across the whole of Scotland, the chance to meet, talk and hear more about developments that effect them as a group.

There is more information on the background to the project on the Wild Harvests Sector Support project page on the Reforesting Scotland website.

Ongoing activities are described in the Trading section of this website.

For more information or to get involved, click here to email Emma Chapman.

A taste of the forest comes to Moffat

16th June 2008

Zacharry's is a new store which opened in Moffat at the end of May. It is a family business, specialising in products made from the Sitka spruce which grows abundantly on land owned by the family at nearby Crookedstane. Goods on sale include spruce quencher, spruce jelly, exclusive spruce and lemon flavoured dairy ice cream, spruce chocolates, spruce burgers, spruce flavoured sausages and a range of spruce teas.

Zacharry's is situated on 25 Well Street in Moffat and will be open Mon - Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

More information available via the Zacharry's website.

Non Timber Forest Products research workshop

16th June 2008

A small participatory workshop on “Non Timber Forest Products: Opportunities and Barriers to Innovation”, was held at the Birnam Arts & Conference Centre, Birnam, Perthshire on 11 June 2008.

The workshop brought together representatives of businesses and other organisations to discuss the nature, effectiveness and support for non-wood product innovation in the forest sector, comparing the situation in Scotland with that in other countries, in particular Italy. The workshop findings will contribute to collaborative research being undertaken across a number of European countries.

The workshop was organised by the Macaulay Institute. For further information email Diana Feliciano or phone 01224 498200 (Ext. 2362).

English bluebells blooming early

13th March 2008

The Natural History Museum reports that bluebells have flowered in February for the first time in the UK.

This comes at the start of this year's online survey of bluebells in the UK. For the third year running members of the public are being asked to look at the bluebells in their local environment, to help build up a picture of the distribution of bluebell species within the UK. Is the native bluebell in danger due to hybridisation with the non-native Spanish bluebell? You can help find out.

ForestHarvest's Scottish Bulb Collection Code pages provide more information about bluebells, and about the issues surrounding bulb harvesting in the UK and abroad.

More information about the trade in wildflower bulbs.

New 'Harvesting guidelines' section on ForestHarvest

8th January 2008

Happy New Year! ForestHarvest is celebrating the start of 2008 by launching a new section on Scotland's sustainable harvesting guidelines.

Sustainable Forest Harvest consultation

12th December 2007

What species or groups of species should Reforesting Scotland's new Sustainable Forest Harvest project focus on? If you'd like to make a suggestion, see Reforesting Scotland's Sustainable Forest Harvest project page for more details.

Reforesting Scotland launches a new project

28th November 2007

Sustainable Forest Harvest - Monitoring NTFP harvests

Reforesting Scotland is pleased to announce the start of a new project to develop participatory monitoring and harvesting guidelines for selected NTFP species in Scotland.

More details on the ForestHarvest projects page

Amazing mosses, fantastic fungi and incredible lichens: new project to boost their conservation in Scotland

28th November 2007

A new project led by Plantlife Scotland will celebrate the amazing world of mosses, liverworts, lichens and fungi and the extraordinary richness that exists in Scotland. In a bid to help their conservation and raise awareness of their importance, the newly launched Lower Plants and Fungi project will be providing advice on managing key habitats for rare and threatened species and organising events for people to learn more about them.

Plantlife's new Lower Plant and Fungi Officer is Matilda Scharsach, based in Stirling. She can be contacted on 01786 469778 or click here to email Matilda Scharsach.

New harvesting guidelines - mosses and bulbs

18th September 2007

As NTFP harvesting becomes more popular as part of people's lives and work, concerns are rising about the possible impacts of harvesting. Two new sets of harvesting guidelines - one for mosses and one for bulbs - are now available to help with this issue.

The codes have been produced in consultation with moss harvesters, land managers, species experts and representatives of conservation organisations.

A5 leaflets containing the essentials of the guidelines

are available from:

Dr Dave Genney, Scottish Natural Heritage, Great Glen House, Leachkin Road, Inverness, IV3 8NW, Tel: 01463 725253 (click here to email Dave Genney)

Click here for more information about Scotland's sustainable harvesting guidelines.

Mushroom picking ban in a mid Wales nature reserve

14th September 2007

"A nature reserve in mid Wales is banning all visitors from picking wild mushrooms because it says some species are in decline." Full story on the BBC Wales website

Local fungus expert Daniel Butler has been leading fungus forays in the Elan Estate since 1998. He says the ban, imposed by the Elan Valley Trust, is both unenforceable and unscientific, and that he would defy it. More details on the BBC Wales website

Neolithic chewing gum

19th August 2007

Modern day Finns have found some ingenious uses for their abundance of birch trees, including making a sugar alcohol called xylitol which is used in tooth-friendly chewing gum.

Now one of the world's oldest pieces of chewing gum has been found. It's from Finland - and it was made from birch trees. The Stone Age version was made by heating birch bark in the absence of air, to produce a tar. Like its more high tech counterpart, it also had chemical properties which aided dental health. "World's oldest chewing gum found"

Kierikki archaelogical centre: "Friday 13th of July was the lucky day at Kierikki Excavation"

Edinburgh Treefest

9-10th June 2007

Popular annual event celebrating all things woody. This year as part of its diverse display, Reforesting Scotland showed examples of Scottish non-timber products and distributed leaflets explaining about the new Scottish Working Woods label.

New woodland products label launched at Touchwood

1 June

Touchwood Festival, combined with this year's Scottish WOODfair and held in Dingwall, was a 2-day event to showcase the diversity of the Highlands’ trees, woods, forests and environment, and networking businesses throughout the 'wood chain', from tree nurseries to wood product manufacturers.

Reforesting Scotland helped to bring a non-wood presence to the event as well, through the Rural Alternatives project, through displaying examples of products from forest harvest businesses, and by its involvement with the new Scottish Working Woods label.

The Scottish Working Woods label was launched at Touchwood, with representatives from trade associations, the Forestry Commission, the press, and woodland products businesses among others. Refreshments included wild garlic cheese and rowan berry jelly kindly donated by local businesses. The label is designed to promote both timber and non-timber products from Scotland's woods.

The Earth’s Blanket

19 April

A talk for Reforesting Scotland by Professor Nancy Turner

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Professor Nancy Turner, an ethnobotanist from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, gave a talk based on her recent book, The Earth's Blanket, which explores the wealth of ecological knowledge and spiritual connection to the natural world that is fundamental to indigenous cultures and lifeways.

Nancy is the author of dozens of books and other publications on plant use by the First Nations of the Pacific North West and is an honorary clan member of several groups. She is also very interested in how we in Scotland value our plants and their traditional and contemporary use.

NTFP Sector Research

31 March 2007

Reforesting Scotland completed an NTFP Sector Research and Development Project at the end of March 2007, exploring ways of supporting Scotland's wild harvesting businesses. The report on the responses from businesses is expected to inform future plans for networking and marketing for the sector.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in this research.

More details on the projects page.

Willow suppliers in Scotland - a dedicated website

February 2007

Many basketmakers, garden landscapers and others looking for willow end up sourcing willow from England or further afield, when we have a lot of willow growing in Scotland.

Willow Scotland is a new website which aims to make it easier for willow users to find willow suppliers. It's been set up using information from research done by Reforesting Scotland in 2004 - information which may of course be out of date; this voluntary project now needs willow users and suppliers to get in touch to help make the list complete and current.

Click here to email Willow Scotland.

The information collected will also feed into the ForestHarvest business directory.

Last updated: 31jul09

Offers and requests

Below are requests relating to just some of the trading in wild products going on in Scotland at present. More can be found via the business directory.

Tree seed collection - new sites & collectors wanted

Maelor Forest Nurseries are looking for people who may be interested in seed collecting or who own sites that may be of use for seed collecting. We are interested in a number of tree species from across Scotland and pay for seed per Kg. For more information on species, quantities and prices please call Sam on 01948 710606.

Rhododendron leaves

Forest Produce specialise in the harvesting of problem sites of rhododendron for the bouquet industry, and are currently looking for sites in Scotland. They need reasonable access and blemish and pest-free stems. They pay estates 1p a stem and prefer large sites, as they can cut 50,000 stems per week.

They are also willing to deal with freelancers, who would be trained by them and would then work on a piece rate.

Contact Forest Produce UK manager Bev Stephenson - 0789 6859445 or 01830 540025.

Bog myrtle

Flavour and fragrance company Ungerer Ltd are currently in the market for bog myrtle. If interested please email either Steven Caldwell or Sue Morgan, or telephone 01244 371711.

Seed collectors wanted

Scotia Seeds are looking for collectors throughout Scotland - in particular the north and west - who can provide the skill, means and expertise to make collections of seed of a number of wildflower species. Ring 01356 626425 or click here to email.

Scotia Seeds follows the Flora Locale Code of Practice for collectors, growers and suppliers of native flora.

Anyone who is coppicing for charcoal

John Sanderson is interested in getting in contact with anyone in the East Lothian area who is involved in coppicing for charcoal. Click here to email John


Thinking of gathering blaeberries next season? Alloa-based Ella Drinks would love to buy Scottish blaeberries for their blaeberry drink.

(You might find berry scoops a useful aid to gathering them.)

Holly foliage - anywhere in Scotland

Greenacres, a central-Scotland based horticultural company, arelooking to buy large quantities of holly foliage - 3-4 inch tips - long hedges in need of a trim are ideal. Will travel anywhere in Scotland to harvest, during November and December.

Phone Brian Gray on 0781 2011298.

More information about holly in the ForestHarvest species directory.