If you’ve ever harvested your own tomatoes or enjoyed a slice of home baked bread, you’ve no doubt experienced the immense satisfaction that comes with providing food for yourself. When we forage for food or medicine, we take this experience one step further, connecting with nature and reawakening that hunter-gatherer that lingers somewhere deep in our DNA.
Once you start foraging, you’ll swiftly find that what was once a green wall of miscellaneous foliage suddenly takes on an exciting new dimension. Every walk or country stroll soon becomes an opportunity to search for wild snacks and keen foragers will always have a spare carrier bag in their jacket pocket just in case they happen upon a laden blackberry bush or wild damson tree.
The events are run by foraging expert Kirk Barker and Hugh Anderson, the founder and head distiller of Downton Distillery.
During this introduction to foraging, we will focus on a few basic techniques for safely identifying some of nature’s often ignored treats as well as making your very own boozy infusions. With no brewing or fermenting involved, infusions are a wonderfully simple method of preserving your hedgerow harvest and the perfect way to start your DIY cocktail cabinet.
Beginning with a plant ID walk across Wick Down and the surrounding area, we will take the opportunity to slow down, take a breath of fresh air and see what is growing around us. There is a rhythm to the year and as the seasons change, so does the selection of wild food available. There is naturally a limit to what may be harvested in the winter months, but learning to recognise plants as they appear throughout the year is key to confident and safe identification. If the weather does turn out to be chilly, a warming tipple will seem more rewarding as we head back to the distillery. Whilst enjoying a wild cocktail or two you will learn more about some of the fascinating processes at Downton.
What is included?
- Welcome Coffee and pastry.
- Learn about the history of Downton and what makes us unique.
- Learn how we make Explorer’s Gin and the botanicals used
- Brief of our walk and plants / fauna that we will encounter.
- Plant identification walk on Wick Down and local area.
- Sample Explorer’s Gin and then enjoy it in a classic Gin and Tonic.
- Lunch from Stable and Wick on return to distillery -
- Create your own spirit using the foraged botanicals.
- Enjoy a couple of wild cocktails using Explorer’s Gin and our foraged spirits.
Location: Botley Farm, Wick Lane, Downton, SP5 3NW
Drive up Wick Lane for 1.5 miles and enjoy the views of the Downs towards Salisbury. Follow the track to the left and you will arrive at Botley Farm. The Distillery is just on the right with three Western Red Cedars growing outside it.
- Bring valid ID with you as we operate a challenge 25 policy.
- Copy of your receipt for the tour (proof on the phone is fine)
- You will be required to walk around the grounds, so sensible footwear should be worn.
- As the distillery has no heating, please bring warm clothing during the winter months.
Need a Taxi?
JCS Taxis - 07786 036525 based in Downton & Nomansland