Lagan Towpath

We took a walk along the Lagan Towpath, from the car park near Cutters wharf to the Lock keepers Inn. The weather was lovely, warm and sunny, but not muggy.

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A view of the Lagan near Lough Keepers. There is a little family of ducks in the background

 

It’s a lovely walk, clean, pleasant with wild beauty everywhere. There’s not a ton to forage for right now, but I made some notes about what to come back for later in the year.

The white Flower heads of Cow Parsely, with nettles (also edible) in the foreground

 

The little white plant is cow parsley. The first time I ever tried it, I was so worried that I’d confused it with hemlock I could hardly bring myself to eat it. I checked about 30 resources to make sure it was ok. When I finally tried it though… it wasn’t worth it, the taste was just, bleugh. In retrospect, it’s hard to confuse cow parsley with hemlock, and I wouldn’t make that mistake, but it wasn’t worth it. I did see hemlock along the Lagan too, though I forgot to photograph it, so do be careful as the two do bear a passing resemblance.

Brambles (blackberry bushes) in flower

 

These are blackberry flowers. If you’re new to foraging, start with blackberries as everyone knows what these look like and there isn’t a lot to confuse them with. The brambles (blackberry bushes) are covered with flowers, so I’m expecting them to be prolific this year.

Wild roses. I’ve never used the flower, but I have made syrup from the rose hips in Autumn

 

Wild alpine (dog) roses. I’ve never made anything with the flowers before, but I will this year. I have made rosehip syrup, which is rich in vitamin C (and costs a bundle to buy). Apparently you can also make an effective itching powder from the tiny little hairs inside the rosehip, but I’ve never tried that either.

I might attempt a cider with these bad boys, but failing that, apples are full of pectin that can be used in setting jams

 

It’s maybe not that clear, but these are little apples. I’m not sure if they are eating apples or crab apples, but either way I can make something with them.

There was also some honeysuckle, which I THINK is edible, but I need more research before I’ll pick it.

There are many species of honeysuckle, don’t eat them unless you are sure what species you have

 

There were also tonnes of hawthorne and even a blackthorn bush, from which you get sloes, but I didn’t stop to snap them.

A note of caution though, whilst there were lots of edible things to forage for, I also saw hemlock and ivy berries that are poisonous. I’ve also previously seen water dropwort along here. Please check and check again, or better yet, check with some experienced before trying a wild food.

 

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