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Rachel Lambert: My Secret Cornish Winter

I’m a winter girl.

Spacious beaches with thundering waves over-spilling into white horses and sea spray is ultimate theatre to me. The churning of the whipped-up ocean and the hardy surfers bobbing on its buoyant surface. The clear paths where I can stride, and pick and peruse. Quietly filling a basket with hedgerow memories with little more than the birds to witness.

As the crowds subside, nature creeps back in. As the outrageous colours of summer flowers fade and seed, green shoots start to flourish once again. And this makes me smile, a lot.

Winter looks different here in West Cornwall; healthy hedgerows boast a variety of greens that are normally seen in spring, and the air is distinctly lacking that expected bite of cold. I even call it a second spring. Surrounded by ocean, temperatures are kept mild and conducive for many plants to thrive.

The seasonal ritual of donning winter coats and wellie boots aren’t lost though, and the comforts of indoor living are appreciated even more.

A Wild Larder

Winter is a time for fresh wild salad leaves and the gathering of coastal wild foods to add into stews and soups. Up on the moors the bright yellow gorse flowers are a beacon of positivity that equally brighten up meals when scattered on top or when baked in rice pudding.

These edible delights punctuate this dark season like forgotten seeds.

There’s a sharp wind, hurrying me along the coast, it takes my breath away, replacing it with wild oxygen that invigorates my whole body. Above the seashore I spot the glossy leaves of sea spinach thriving in the cooler air. Unperturbed by the salty air it looks strong and fit for a banquet and perfect for a risotto.

I watch people walk past onion grass, wild sorrel and wild cresses and I wonder if the plants mind being ignored. I’m a winter girl and I love to pick what our Cornish winter provides, to eat winter with an appetite that appreciates this season just as much as spring, summer and autumn.

About Rachel

I’m a foraging guide, teaching about seasonal wild food throughout the year - including winter! I’m also an award-winning author and have two pocket-sized foraging and cooking books that are easy to take out on a hedgerow and coastal walk. 

If you’re not able to make it down to Cornwall right now, I also have online foraging membership options, sending monthly info on what’s in season to forage, including recipes.

www.wildwalks-southwest.co.uk

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