A legacy for the Scottish Wild Harvests Association

On 1 October 2020, after several years of inactivity, members agreed that SWHA should wind up as a formal organisation, donating its remaining funds to a practical project to conserve Scotland's native wild apple trees. The agreed aim is to establish Scottish Wild Apple Seed Orchards, building on previous research and development work by forester Rick Worrell and colleagues.

Why Wild Apple Seed Orchards?

The wild apple tree, Malus sylvestris, is a neglected and little-known native species which contributed to the genetics and qualities of modern cultivated apples. It remains a bountiful resource for both human and non-human foragers. It is beautiful, hardy, rare and under threat.

Rick's 2017 article introduces 'The search for Scotland's native forest apple: Malus sylvestris' (Reforesting Scotland Issue 56);

and the results of that research are presented in:

The seed orchards, with separate collections for trees from the west and east of Scotland, are intended to conserve the genetics of the remaining wild population, and make material available to sustain it: a future gift both to foragers and to the wild. Click here for a brief project description.

Falkland Stewardship Trust (Scottish charity no. SC022481) has agreed to manage the funds.

Email Rick Worrell to find out more about the project on the ground.

Free forage events in the Borders, autumn 2013

SWHA has joined forces with Wooplaw Community Woodland to organise a series of free foraging events in the Borders this autumn. The first date is Sunday 29th September at Wooplaw, so get your booking in soon! This will be a get-together for any local SWHA members, plus other interested foragers. Other dates are 5th October, 19th October, 20th October.

See the flyer for more details.

Thanks to Forestry Commission Scotland for funding and support.

2013 Wild Harvests Gathering

The Scottish Wild Harvests Association met at Cairn o'Mohr winery, East Inchmichael, Errol, Perthshire, PH2 7SP, on 14-15 September. The main themes for discussions were sustainable harvesting and the SWHA Code of Conduct. We had a guided forage on the Sunday, and camping, bring-and-share supper, and social evening on the Saturday evening. There were lively discussions between members old and new, and new ideas and energy for taking things forward in the coming months.

Thanks to Ron, Judith and the crew at Cairn o'Mohr for their hospitality.

The SWHA AGM took place at 5pm on 14 September.

2013: Summer 2013 news and recipes

Including new venue for 2013 SWHA Gathering: Cairn o'Mohr winery, 14-15 September.

2013: "Coming out of hibernation" - March e-news

Plans are afoot for meets and forages, Jools has been exploring Latvia, we're supporting sustainable coppicing, and we offer our first recipe for 2013 - read the e-bulletin here.

2013: April events

Forage in Fife: Monimail, 14 April 1-4pm

SWHA members will be meeting at the Monimail Tower Project in Fife on the morning of Sunday 14th April, then Monimail will open its doors at 1pm for a wild food lunch and a forage walk in the woods. More details here.

Regenerating Hazel Coppice, Loch Tay, 19-20 April

SWHA member the Scottish Crannog Centre is running this 2-day conference on coppicing in Scotland, looking at case studies, biodiversity & economic benefits, networking - & issues raised by the importance of hazel for lichen. Site visits both afternoons. Ancient skills & modern insights combined. Booking essential as numbers are limited. Tel 01887 830583 or email the Crannog Centre.

Growing and Harvesting Food in Community Woodlands, Torridon 27 April

SWHA members are both hosting and speaking at this event in which the Community Woodlands Association is looking at ways of producing food in community-managed land - including foraging and forest gardening. For more info phone Les Bates on 01445 791365, email Les at Croft7 or email Diane Oliver of the Community Woodlands Association.

2012: Wooplaw 25 - 31 August - 2nd September 2012

We met in the woods to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of Wooplaw Community Woodland - just north of Galashiels. We brough copies of the Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvests, went out for a bit of a forage, and enjoyed meeting local foragers. A couple of us also delivered talks and displayed the Handbook at the concurrent Community Woodlands Conference in Galashiels.

More details in the Scottish Wild Harvests Association Newsletter August 2012, along with updates from the Big Tent and a call to Borders foragers.

Scottish Wild Harvests Association Newsletter July 2012

Click here to view our July 2012 newsletter.

2012: A Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvests

Cover of the Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvests
Our new book, the Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvests, came out in July! This is a joint project with Reforesting Scotland, with expert material contributed by members of both organisations. There was also a big input from the publisher, Saraband, and we are very grateful for their support and their enthusiasm.

We launched the Handbook at the Big Tent festival in Falkland, on July 21-22. We celebrated the launch of the Handbook with a discussion panel at noon on Sunday, wild food cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend, and space in a friendly yurt where the book was on sale, alongside SWHA members Plant Ideas, who kindly shared their yurt with us.

Reception of the Handbook has been overwhelmingly positive; this is a truly unique - and very practical - addition to the literature. As well as providing a good introduction to foraging in Scotland, the book contains enough detailed tips and insights to be of real interest to experienced gatherers as well. (The editorial team can vouch for this!)

You can order your copy direct from SWHA - just email us for details. It is also available from some SWHA members, especially those who run courses and workshops, and at SWHA events.

A flyer for the Handbook is available here.

2011: Summer 2011 Newsletter

Thumbnail of 1st page of SWHA Summer 2011 Newsletter

The Scottish Wild Harvests Association Summer 2011 Newsletter (PDF file 935KB) is now online, bringing reports and pictures from the recent Gathering and a topical perspective from one wild harvesting speciality - medical herbalism.

It also carries a packed Coming Events section, with foraging days, a week-long residential foraging course, and other opportunities to learn specialised skills or just to enjoy days out in the fields and woods.

2011: The Gathering of the Wild Gatherers

"Who are the wild gatherers, what do we do, and what do we want?"

In June 2011 people from around Scotland travelled to meet at the Cairn o'Mohr Winery in Perthshire, for the first ever gathering of the Scottish Wild Harvests Association. It was a celebration of midsummer, foraging and elderflowers

We toured of the winery and its unique elder orchard, went on a guided forage walk, ate a special wild food lunch at the Cairn o'Mohr cafe, and brought our own displays, information, products, ideas and diverse knowledge. Discussions included codes of conduct for gathering, the need to let the hedges and verges flower and fruit, how to manage land for more forageables, and the purpose and direction of SWHA itself.

Gathering reports & pictures in the Summer 2011 Newsletter.

SWHA 2010

The Scottish Wild Harvests Association's last public outing of 2010 was in a dedicated SWHA marquee at the Wild Gathering in Dunkeld, Perthshire on 9 October. This outdoor market was the launch event of Wild Connections, a new Perthshire wildlife tourism festival. Our marquee was packed with a range of wild harvests businesses & their products. Our first AGM was held the next day in nearby Bankfoot. It was a very positive meeting, with much agreement on the need for luxuriant, flower-rich verges and untrimmed, fruitful hedges. Let's hear it for biodiversity and for abundant wild harvestables!

Earlier in the year, for the second time running we held a shared stall at the Big Tent festival in Falkland, Fife. This was a great chance to share information with the general public, and meet fellow foragers.

We agreed that one of the most important benefits of these shared stalls was the chance to meet other SWHA members, get to know each other better, and learn from each other's expertise. With that in mind, our next planned event is a members' gathering. We're hoping that the day will include a guided tour round an elderflower plantation...

SWHA's first annual report Apr09-Oct10

Click here or on the image for a one-page account of SHWA's first year or so

SWHA 2009 - how it began

Reforesting Scotland logo

The Scottish Wild Harvests Association (SWHA) was formed in April 2009 following a series of workshops and meetings run by Reforesting Scotland. The two organisations continue to have close links, with ideals, ideas, members and even projects in common.


About SWHA

The SCOTTISH WILD HARVESTS ASSOCIATION unites people who are passionate about, and respect, Scotland's wild resources. The wealth of the wild provides foraged food, hedgerow baskets, country wines, wildflower seeds, essences, extracts, and wood products that support the lives and livelihoods of our members.

Membership encourages knowledge sharing, education, co-operative marketing and the promotion of sustainable gathering.

The aims of the Association are to:

  • provide information about wild harvesting in Scotland
  • facilitate co-operation between members
  • help provide marketing opportunities to members
  • raise public awareness of the Scottish wild harvests sector
  • represent the views of the group to public bodies according to the views of the members
  • promote sustainable harvesting
  • promote a Code of Conduct for all gatherers
  • forge a good working relationship with landowners
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