Our National Specialist Matthew Oates writes:
‘The National Trust supports the use of its properties for foraging for abundant species of wild food for personal use. Good foraging will remind us that we are part of nature, make us appreciate nature more, and tame our instincts to over-exploit nature.
Foraging activities must be based on the principle of sustainability. We must protect vulnerable species and habitats, and ensure that foraging takes place in a safe and sustainable way.
We are deeply concerned about the widespread gathering of fungi, particularly from SSSI land (ASSI in Northern Ireland), and will seek to reduce, regulate or prevent such activities.
To help us achieve all this we are supporting the creation of an independent Guild of Foragers and are working with other organisations to develop national codes of good practice for foraging.
In the rare circumstances where we believe it appropriate to have commercial foraging, we will issue a specific license at an appropriate fee, and ensure through careful monitoring that there is no undue impact on wild food populations. Ideally, monies so raised should be used to give something back to the land.
We will work closely with foragers, wildlife organisations and other land owners to find an agreed way forward in this important area. We may revise this position statement in line with future developments.’