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Foraging, Fishing and Goats – a visit to Dartington


We’re busy putting together a packed programme for our Root Camp courses in July at Dartington in Devon. We spent a few busy days there last week meeting the farmers, foragers and beekeepers we’ll be working with.

Dartington, just outside Totnes in South Devon offers us a wonderful new home for Root Camp, with acres of farmland, gardens and woodland to explore. 

Dartington is really beautiful – with undulating green hills, and woods lining the river Dart.  There are many innovative food and farming projects active on the Estate, run by many passionate farmers and growers. Last week we visited a few of them and here’s just a taste of what we’ll be getting up to at Root Camp this summer.

A day at Riverford Organic Farm

Root Camp was born at Riverford in 2010.  Guy Watson (its founder) brought the ‘field’ to the Root Camp ‘table’ and helped to establish us as a residential, rural experience.

We met Penny Hemming, who is a gardener and runs Riverford’s educational programme   She will be working with us in the fields where will taste and compare crops, to harvest, plant and weed, and discover some of the realities of larger scale organic farming.  We will pick salads for our kitchen.



Foraging with Myrtle Cooper

Myrtle’s approach to foraging is to “cultivate capacities in people to come alive through food”.

The Root Camp sessions will include an introduction to plants; the identification of edible plants for picking; and a ‘making’ session – perhaps a herb pesto, or a green smoothie. If the weather is fine, we will make tea on a camping stove.

Kingsbridge Bee CollectiveBeekeeping with the Kingsbridge Beekeeping Cooperative
We met Lilah and Malcom who will present with fun and laughter different beekeeping methods. Ideas for Root Camp sessions popped and sparked: discussions about natural beekeeping; the death of black bee; the sex life of a bee; carnivorous wasps, honey tastes, hive-styles. We will extract honey and making candles to take home.

The Wild Man Bob Reade
Bob will introduce us to a variety of traps and will demonstrate skinning a rabbit as if he were peeling off a glove. We will all have a go, and try to imitate him as we prepare our rabbits for paella and pate.

2016-04-07 11.55.13Fishing with The Optimist, Nigel
We didn’t meet Nigel in person, but we passed Brixham where we saw his brightly coloured fishing boat moored in the harbour. Nigel will take us out to catch mackerel and teach us to gut and fillet our catch on board ready for our barbecue.