RETURN TO THE WILD

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A NORTH East castle, famous for its restaurant, is giving foodies the chance to forage for ingredients in its historic grounds.

The ancient woodland surrounding 600-year-old Lumley Castle hotel is home to a wide variety of wild ingredients, from garlic and herbs to edible roots and berries.

And now the four star hotel, at Chester-le-Street, has joined forces with foraging experts to give nature lovers and foodies the chance to learn more about ‘wild food’, at a series of special events in 2016.

On selected dates throughout the year, it will be giving groups of around 20 visitors, the chance to explore its nine acres of woodland in the company of bush craft and survival expert Bruce Ferguson, of Wild North Discovery.

Not only will he teach them to seek out and identify wild ingredients during a one and a half hour walk, but chefs from the hotel’s renowned Black Knight restaurant will then serve lunch, incorporating the foraged food.

Between courses, Bruce, who has been foraging for wild food for more than 30 years and recently took actor and presenter Robson Green seashore foraging for an upcoming episode of hit TV show, Tales from Northumberland, will give a talk about safe, legal and sustainable foraging.

He will also be talking about food to look out for later in the year that may not yet be in season and the various types of location at which wild food can be found.

“The fascinating thing about Lumley Castle is that parts of its grounds have lain relatively undisturbed and uncultivated for a very long time,” said Bruce “which makes them a treasure trove for foragers.

“There is a huge interest in wild food at present, however, not all berries, roots and leaves are safe to eat which is why courses such as these are so important.”

 Along with the public courses, Lumley Castle is giving corporate clients the chance to find out more about foraging by offering them the option to build a short course with Bruce into their team-building or conference and event packages.

“With Bruce’s expertise, we hope to help visitors find out a little more about foraged food and introduce them to our lovely grounds at the same time.”

The Foraging at Lumley days are scheduled for Sunday 22 May and 2 October, with more date to follow and places, which are limited, cost £29.50, to include lunch.