Our position on foraging for wild food

Published : 01 Mar 2016 Last update : 05 Sep 2018

The National Trust supports the use of most of its places for foraging for abundant species of wild food for personal use. Good foraging will remind us that we are part of nature, make us appreciate nature more, and tame our instincts to over-exploit nature.

Foraging activities must be based on the principle of sustainability.  We must protect vulnerable species and habitats, and ensure that foraging takes place in a safe and sustainable way.

We are deeply concerned about the widespread gathering of fungi, particularly from Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI; ASSI in Northern Ireland), and will seek to reduce, regulate or prevent such activities.  

To help us achieve all this we are supporting the creation of an independent Guild of Foragers and are working with other organisations to develop national codes of good practice for foraging.

In the rare circumstances where we believe it appropriate to have commercial foraging we will issue a specific license, at an appropriate fee, and ensure through careful monitoring that there is no undue impact on wild food populations.  Ideally, monies so raised should be used to give something back to the land.

We will work closely with foragers, wildlife organisations and other land owners to find an agreed way forward in this important area.

We may revise this position statement in line with future developments.