Foraging Tuition and Private Bookings
Book Mark for your own private foraging event at any time of year
“You’ve really changed my life with the exceptional knowledge you passed on to me on the foraging day. I have just finished a delicious meal of chanterelles, amethyst deceivers, puffball and ceps! So ecstatic that the rest of my life is now an everlasting treasure hunt. Life changing! The skills you passed on and the enthusiasm for observance was a true gift and I now see the world through an extra dimension!”
– Kit Cubitt, E. Lothian
To really learn and gain the confidence to identify edible plants, fungi and seaweeds, it is extremely useful to go out in the field with an experienced foraging teacher.
Book a private session and you’ll enjoy getting to know the wild flavours of your area in a session designed around the needs of you and your group – from relaxed nature bimbles to big days out on fungi-filled forests, or even multi-day
All private events booked with Galloway Wild Foods are hosted and taught by Mark Williams, who has been teaching about foraging for over 30 years. Learn more about Mark here.
Mark specialises in giving you a fun, fascinating, delicious outing that suits the needs of you and your group.
What To Expect on a Private Booking with Galloway Wild Foods
Click Play to listen to a Visit Scotland Podcast, recorded on a private booking with a family. (Play from 1m 10s)
- Having guided foraging, mountaineering and nature watching groups for over 30 years, Mark can find a good formula for most needs and interests. The following gives a sense of what most people are looking for, but do feel free to design your own event:
- All private bookings are tailored to your own needs, interests and location
- Welcome wild flower champagne/soda
- A gentle exploratory walk of 1 to 2 miles over about 3 hours, followed by a cooking/picnic session
- Route is carefully recced in advance by Mark, to ensure you get the most from the session, and that terrain is suitable for your group
- Foraged treats, tipples and tasters are served throughout the walk, to bring to life the full possibilities of what we meet
A wild cook-in or pre-prepared wild food picnic afterwards in a beautiful spot, meticulously prepared by Mark from dozens of wild ingredients, prepared according you your dietary requirements. Click the link video below to see what goes into an autumn picnic box…
Learn the hidden foodscape of your own back yard, have fun explorations with family and friends in a beautiful place, and delving deep into foraged cocktails, our wild spice rack, seaweeds or fascinating fungi….
If you don’t have a location in mind already, Mark has lots of great locations around Galloway or further afield in Scotland and N England, including wheelchair accessible locations, and would be happy to design sessions for people with sensory impairments.
“My family wanted to connect a bit more with what was in our our own backyard so, on discovering that Mark was offering bespoke guided foraging tours as we exit from full lockdown, we jumped at the chance. Mark helped us discover the edible treasures we had around our pond, all this while respecting the social distancing measures. After 2 hours of tailored tasty tuition, we now know the “yellow thingy” is a pineapple camomile (yum!), that spruce tips really jazz up your gin as well as dozens of other delicious treats! Mark even left us some foraged cocktails and other tasty wild treats, which really was the icing on the cake!”
– Annie, Galloway.
From £125/hour + travel time & mileage based on a minimum of 3 hours per event. About 4 hours is normal. You can invite up to 12 people. Treat this as guidance only – I will give you a price for the whole event and optional extras once we’ve discussed your needs/interests/location preferences.
Further Information and Booking:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, including: the sort of event you’d like (eg. coastal/fungi foray etc, in which area you would like the event to take place, for how many people, and your preferred dates. I’ll then send you a detailed info sheet, and a outline a range of costed options.
If all this sounds too complicated or expensive for your needs, please check out:
Sessions or whole days can be tailored to your interests and location. Perhaps you are fascinated by fungi, or want to learn how to unearth spoot clams. Maybe you’d like a celebratory day with friends, exploring the Drunken Botany of plants, with wild cocktails to try. Often there will be a host of delicious ‘weeds’ up your lane that you have been ignoring for years!
If you book Mark for an afternoon or a day and let him know where you are he can design a session that will ensure that you get most out of your time. If you want to learn about things that don’t grow in your area, he can advise on a good place for the foray. Or just say what sort of day (or days!) you want and let Mark suggest some options.
Gift Vouchers are also available, and can be used to book tuition at a later date –
Tuition is not restricted to Dumfries and Galloway – Mark has foraged in many areas of Scotland and N England and can help you get the most out of any area.
“…thanks for giving us the confidence to find and pick such delicious mushrooms! We are now getting enough to put chanterelles, hedgehog mushrooms and giant puffballs on our menu – but we keep the ceps for ourselves! The best thing is that after a 3 hour session with you we can now harvest our own little patches year after year!”
– Helen, Owner and Head Chef, House O’Hill Hotel, Bargrennan.
“We had a fabulous time last Sunday – I still can’t believe that we were all outside in that filthy weather for nearly 4 hours – kids and all – and completely absorbed. No doubt, helped by cha-cha bomb and sloe gin!!! And delicious fruit leathers and hogweed seed cake. Feedback is only the highest praise. You are so knowledgeable, and such a good communicator, and your cooking and drink mixing legendary! We are so lucky that you came to our patch to show us what is on our doorstep. Thanks so much for dealing with weather and location without fuss. Everyone I have spoken to since Sunday thought it was the BEST DAY EVER!! And so it was! They all thought you were brilliant, and were all amazed by what we found. Those who had less of an expectation of what it was all about were totally blown away; but equally those to whom I had explained in more detail or are already keen foragers, were equally blown away by how much they learned and how engrossing it was.
My excuse for my delay in thanking you is that since our day, I have been ADDICTED to mushroom hunting by day and drying them by night! Having been on the look out for ceps for 2 years, can’t believe that it was on sunday that I found my first! Then found 5 more on Tuesday… Then on Sunday dragged hubby with me – and we filled another huge trug!! So in the evenings, when the girls are asleep, I have been busy creating a mushroom drying factory next to the wood burner!”
– Alice Stilgoe, Thornhill
Promote Your Own Foraging Event
Mark regularly does walks for other businesses. Selling places for your own event is a good way to make bringing Mark to your area more affordable and often profitable. See here.
If you would like to arrange some tuition tailored to your interests/location/group, host a foray at your business, get some help identifying something you have found or just say hi, please contact Mark. I can answer your initial questions and send an information sheet to help you to know what is involved.
Example 1: An extended and far-flung family had got together for a short holiday in Ayrshire. They asked Mark to come up with an interesting venue for an afternoon’s foraging. Read about it here.
Example 2: A retired couple who were keen cooks hired Mark to come to their rural home and help them get to know the free ingredients that lurked in their local woods. They invited a few friends round, had a fun afternoon, and learned how to use their wild larder in their everyday diet.
Example 3: A michelin starred chef hired Mark to take him and his brigade out near his restaurant. He now harvests some of his very finest (and most expensive) products for free. See more here and here
Hi is there anyway to contact you via telephone to ask you whether you can obtain some gorseflower for me to purchase from you?
Please email me back, or telephone me on 07985d83484.
Hi Ross, thanks for your message. Your phone number was incomplete.
Of all the things I expected to be asked for, I reckoned gorse flower was the least likely! Its absolutely everywhere in Galloway just now, and as I type I can see swathes of it out of the window. I guess you must live somewhere less rural, or have trouble getting to it?
Anyway, I could look into getting some to you and would just charge for my time plus postage. I could pick a fair amount in an hour, so possibly around £20, depending on how much you require? Can I ask what you are intending to do with it?
I am away on holiday for the next 2 weeks, but can look into sending you some when I get back if you wish to proceed?
I was wondering if you could give me some advice on the best place in the d&g region to find elderflower & sloes?
You are in luck – elder and blackthorn are extremely common all around Galloway and most of the UK. My page on elderflowers has plenty of tips on where to find them. Sloes will not be obvious until late summer – I will publish more info by then. Please also read this: http://www.gallowaywildfoods.com/?page_id=970
Dear Mark – I am trying to identify a plant I found growing wild on Arran. I emailed email@example.com and Vicky suggested I contact you. Couldn’t find an email so hope you find this message!
I doubt it’s an edible plant, and was growing by the coast, north of Brodick, last week (we were on hols there). What stood out were the green berries on a bright purple stalk – tried an online ID site but to no avail! Beautiful small purple flowers too. I’ve never seen anything like it & wondered if you could shed any light. If not, do you know who might?
Its very hard to ID anything from just a description. If you have any pictures, feel free to email them to me or share via twittter or FB and I will be happy to try to help.
Hi Mark – I didn’t have a camera but Vicky warned me that it might be deadly nightshade so I Googled and it was! I feel that colour combination of purple stalks and green berries should be as much a danger sign as red toadstools with white spots! So beautiful though.
Hi, we live on a farm in Longtown, just over the boarder, and have an area of woodland that we planted 3 years ago, but has lots of piles of wood. There seem to be lots of different fungus around, but I’m struggling to identify any for sure. I was wondering about trying to organise for you to come to us maybe next Autumn now? I just wanted to get an idea of cost, and what it might entail. If you email I can give you a phone number to call.
I replied to you directly by email.
is there a chance that you might post your ketchup recipe I’ve tried various but with no success if you don’t want to reveal it I will understand
I don’t have “my own” mushroom ketchup recipe, but will work on one and share when I do. May be next season before I get around to this now!
would you come to an estate to show us around and see whats available?
we are new to the area and from looking around the site you have already been to the are in question, ardnamurchan… could you possibly contact me with info and prices to take 2 chefs out? for a day or two
also do you supply to any restaurants?
I think I have replied to you by email. Let me know if that wasn’t you!
Chris Dolphin was saying a few years ago he went on a walking trip in Gallowway with you and recommends you highly.
The whole family is now starting to get extremely interested in the idea of learning to forage and I am contacting you to try and get a little information on the costs of a group 4 of us attending a course or arranging a private one. The skills everyone seems very keen on are: the shore side foraging, collecting edibles from hedgerows/ woodland and fungi identification.
Chris mentioned that you did some courses on wild butchery/ roadkill prperation courses that myself and Chris would be very interested in arranging.
We are happy to travel to Galloway for the courses as we are fairly local.
Thanks in advanced for the infomation.
Hi Joe, Thanks for getting in touch. I have emailed a reply.
Hi Mark ,
we foraged for shrooms with you last autumn at Cardoness and loved it , we would love to book you for a day here at Grobdale to see what we have on our land that we can eat .. We are only up the road as such from you so hope this is an easy commute 🙂 let me know max numbers and a cost if you could, i would like to do autumn again as we have tons of fungi berries and foliage all around us and its my fave time of year for preserving stuff.
Sarah and Andy
Hi Sarah and Andy – i’ve sent you an email. 🙂
I was just wondering if you do foraging tuition for just one person?
I live in Lancaster, so coastal foraging is something that really interests me, being so near to Morecambe Bay, but I’d honestly be more interested in coming up to Galloway, for a change of scenery more than anything since it’s reasonably close to me.
Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, I can certainly do 1:1 sessions. Its a great way to really focus on what’s most useful to you, from your level of knowledge. I do charge for my time rather than per person though, so potentially costly for one. Drop me an email if you’d like more information (mark[at]gallowaywildfoods[dotcom]. Another way is Online Mentoring, which i’ve seen great results with. See here:
Hi, just checking if the event on Sunday is going ahead – I have booked 2 tickets as it’s my boyfriends birthday. We live in Twynholm. Thanks, Nova
Hi Nova – i’ve tried to email, phone and text you, with no response over the past week. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Mark.
Hi Mark, apart from woodlands do you also offer foraging by the seaside for children aged 5-12 please? We are a recently formed Seawildlings youth group based in Ardfern which offers magnificent rocky beaches…
Hi Bea, Yes, certainly. Please see my page on “Private Bookings” then drop me an email to discuss your needs.
Hi, I’m looking for info on a mushroom foraging course for this Spring 2022?
Hi Graham, My dedicated fungi courses run mid August – November – see here https://gallowaywildfoods.com/product-category/fungi-events/
At other times of year we may talk about some fungi, but this is not the main focus of the walk.
Hi Mark, I hope you are so well. Might you have a couple of hours to take a group of us out foraging on either the 11 or 12th November? I always learn so much Best days ever. Sam
Hi Samantha – please email me, I can’t deal with booking g requests on here!