Autumnal Foraging in a Devonshire Boatyard by the River

Autumnal Foraging in a Devonshire Boatyard by the River

As the days grow shorter and a cool breeze sweeps through the air, autumn paints the landscape with vibrant hues of gold and crimson. It is a season that brings with it a bountiful harvest, not only from the boatyard but also from the wonders of nature around me. Today, I embark on a foraging adventure through the boatyard and along the tranquil banks of the River Dart in Devon, England, to discover the treasures autumn has to offer.
One of the autumn delights that first captures my attention is the abundance of sloe berries. These small, deep blue fruits, with their tart flavour, beckon to be transformed into a delicious homemade sloe gin. With its rich colour and sweet aroma, sloe gin captures the essence of the season in every sip.

Another treasure I stumble upon during my foraging expedition are the luscious blackberries. These juicy berries are perfect for pairing with creamy Greek yogurt, creating a delightful combination of sweet and tangy flavours that tantalise the taste buds. Imagine savouring a spoonful of creamy yogurt topped with plump blackberries, enjoying the subtle burst of sweetness with every bite.

Among the foliage, I can't help but notice the vibrant red hawthorn berries adorning the branches. Did you know that these berries can be used to brew a delicious tea? Not only does hawthorn tea have a delightful taste, but it is also known for its antioxidant properties. Sipping a warm cup of hawthorn tea is not only soothing for the soul but also beneficial for your overall well-being. It’s health benefits are greater when it is steeped over a few hours and can be drunk either hot or cold. 

As I explore the boatyard dressed in its autumn finery, I am captivated by the beauty that surrounds me. The setting sun casts a warm glow upon the tranquil scene, painting the sky with shades of pink and orange. It is a testament to nature's artistry, and I can't help but be grateful for the opportunity to witness such breathtaking beauty.

The boatyard is not only a feast for the eyes but also a sanctuary for a diverse range of wildlife. The river teems with life, from graceful egrets fishing in the shallows to gulls soaring above in search of their next meal. Sheep graze ‘peacefully’ on nearby fields (apart from when the farmer arrives with their food), and the playful crabs scuttling along the shoreline are a reminder of the vibrant ecosystems that thrive in these waters. The tawny owls emerge at night to serenade us with their haunting calls whilst we wind down with a crackling campfire.

Autumn always lights a spark of creativity in my soul and I have been using some of the oyster shells I collected whilst out foraging the river banks to make some autumn inspired shell dishes.  I have shells with rose hips, toadstools and a basket of scrumped apples so far. They can be found in my Shell Dishes collection.

So as autumn sweeps over the boatyard and the riverbanks of the River Dart, it unveils a bounty of flavours and a sight to behold. It is a time of discovery, where nature shares its gifts with those who take the time to appreciate them. So, grab a basket, put on your walking shoes, and embark on your own foraging journey. Who knows what delights you may find as the season unfolds?

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