The apex of the summer, August is a time when the rivers, sea and lakes have been warmed and will more or less keep their temperature until the end of September, so why not head out to your local wild swim spot?
Here are a few to choose from…in Wiltshire, you’d be hard pushed to find a finer river swim than Claverton, just outside Bath. Known by the locals as Warleigh Weir the Avon rushes over and down into a fast current bend before wending it’s way to Bath and beyond.
Above the weir there’s a fantastic expanse of water to swim in with a big field to flop onto afterwards if the sunshine permits…moving into the heart of the London metropolis, there is of course the old favourite of the Hampstead ponds, with the benefits of mixed and single gender pools.
And finally a fantastic estuary swim may be found in Cornwall in the Tiddy that cuts through the Port Eliot estate in Cornwall. Be sure to book into the Port Eliot Literary Festival for 2017 to enjoy not just their stand up comedians, authors, alfresco chefs and wild workshops, but also the chance to refresh in this beautiful, at times muddy, weave of water!
Back to our foragers larder, this month we see the abundant onset of berries: bilberries, blackberries, rowanberries and later in the month elderberries. Other fine edibles include the ever blossoming meadowsweet, fantastic in tea, chickweed, fat hen, early hazelnuts, rosehips, sea beet, fennel, heather flowers and the legendary medicine plant, yarrow.
Although wheat is not considered a wild food, it is possible to buy UK grown organic grains and sprout them for salads or leave them longer to grow into wheat grass…see our DIY recipe for this month…they are fantastically nutritious and historically their harvest is marked in the land-based festival called Lammas which falls on the cusp between July/August. It traditionally spans a full month and at one time included fairs, feasts and celebrations marking the abundance of this wondrous food source. It’s therefore no surprise that our British tradition of music festivals over spill into August and with festival cafes providing no end of incredible food, they somehow offer a faint echo of this Celtic cross quarterly festival.