The landscapes of the Celtic Routes are bountiful with foraging opportunities and rich waters that are perfect for fishing.
Experience living off the land, or enjoy a catch of the day fresh from the sea or river for dinner, just as our Celtic ancestors would have for many a millennia.
The Celts had a spiritual bond with the natural world and believed that the sea is a source of healing and cleansing, of food and wealth. So, what better way to immerse yourself in this world than by
On a coastal foraging experience along the Carmarthenshire coastline, you’ll learn how to find prawns, mussels, cockles, wild samphire, sea anemones and scarlet elf cup mushrooms. The
reward for your efforts is your very own zero-waste, organic lunch on the beach.
Nestled between the shores of the Tywi Estuary and the rolling Carmarthenshire hills is the pretty village of Llansteffan. The golden sands of the main beach and the secluded cove of Scott’s Bay are worth a visit whatever the season. Climb the hill on which a 12th century Norman castle sits, which controlled an important river crossing.
Cardigan Bay is famous for its bottlenose dolphins, with a resident population of around 250. They are drawn here by the abundant feeding grounds, the undisturbed habitat and the clean waters. It’s possible to see bottlenose dolphins all year round, but your prospects are best in the summer months, when there’s plenty of mackerel in the waters to be eaten.
And why not try a spot of fishing yourself? The breakwater at New Quay is a great fishing location most months of the year, and it welcomes anglers of all abilities. From the breakwater, you can expect to catch mackerel, garfish and wrasse. If you’re after some expert guidance, there are plenty of boat trips available to fish further from the coastline, where you’ll be guided by a professional.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path twists and turns for 186 miles from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south. It covers almost every kind of coastal landscape, from volcanic rock headlands, limestone arches, blowholes and sea stacks, to narrow glacial inlets. Lines of red and grey sandstone cliffs are broken by sandy beaches.
Trained chef, forager and fisherman, Matt Powell runs an experience specifically for visitors to the Pembrokeshire coast. A typical foraging day has three elements: hedgerow plants, shoreline plants and seaweeds and fungi. Expect to find varying treasures throughout the seasons, including wild garlic in abundance throughout spring and a wealth of edible mushrooms in the summer months. And everything gathered goes into an amazing multi-course dinner with the aim of serving up “Wales on a plate”.
Although mainly regarded as a seaside village, the 60-acre wood in Courtown provides a source of shady respite from the nearby beach. During the 1860s and 70s, James Stopford, the 5th Earl of Courtown, established a pinetum in the grounds of Courtown House. Trees remaining from his collection include a Californian redwood, swamp cypress, Japanese cedar, a cedar of Lebanon and numerous pines, yews and true cypresses. Look out for a yew tree planted as part of the collection, but felled years ago, continuing to grow adjacent to the River Walk.
Along this beautiful woodland walk below the trees you’ll find an abundance of wild garlic, if you’re unable to see it, you will certainly be able to smell it. Don’t forget to take a basket for your finds, and why not make a beautiful wild garlic pesto with your treasures?
A 3-hour Wild Food foraging walk will teach you how to identify commonly found wild leaves, flowers, fruits, nuts and mushrooms, depending on the season. To discover more in-depth knowledge about foraging and how to cook what you find, you could sign up for a 2-day Wild Foods Master Class at Brook Lodge & Macreddin Village. It’s the only regular course of its kind in Ireland and includes practical sessions and demonstrations given by the chefs of the village’s Strawberry Tree Restaurant. The Master Class covers identification of wild foods throughout the year, plus instructions on how to gather, cook and preserve using traditional methods.
The coastline of County Waterford is beautifully rugged and offers a bountiful experience for those wishing to forage along it. It was the revival of interest in seaweed as an ingredient that prompted Waterford’s Sea Gardener, Marie Power, to share her expert foraging knowledge and educate people on the best finds along the coastline. Visitors can learn how to forage and cook with their seaweed finds, with activities ranging from beach and land foraging, beach picnics and cook-ups.