I was sitting on Dartmoor last weekend, as part of a Medicine Walk, a solo walking ceremony that turns the land into a mirror for your inner world.
The weather on Dartmoor was gorgeous. The flowering gorse and gnarly hawthorn trees reminding me of the Downs, with similar stunning views across green fields towards the coast.
I’ve got a bit hooked on Medicine Walks after being introduced to them by Rebecca Card, and then running them with her on the Downs around Devil’s Dyke.
I have no idea how they work, but something unexpected, insightful and magical always seems to happen to me: from finding special trees and features in the landscape that resonate with themes in my life, to strange synchronicities that have made me laugh out loud.
(Read more about Medicine Walks here. We’re doing another one in June if you fancy it.)
It’d been a long journey to get to Dartmoor from Brighton. I’d used the car's satnav and when I arrived I didn’t really have a sense of where I was until I spotted navel wort - a wild edible plant that I discovered the last time I was in Devon.
Navel wort grows in the walls of Devon’s lanes - it’s crunchy and refreshing, a bit like a cross between bean sprouts and cucumber… I ate some as I started walking and it instantly made me happy, and I felt more plugged in to where I was.
Navel wort doesn’t grow in Sussex, but there are lots of other great edible wild plants that are greening the hedgerows and lanes of Sussex at the moment.
If you’re interested in learning how to find them, we’re running Forage with your Senses with Mike Cutting in Stanmer Park on April 23rd. You’ll learn to identify hogweed, celandine, plantain, cleavers... and you’ll get to taste some of them around the fire afterwards too.
Before then I’m also really looking forward to Befriending the Dark on Sat April 15th. It’s a guided night walk without torches over the South Downs, with Caroline Whiteman.
I walked the route with Caroline a few months ago. It was enchanting. Away from the busyness of the world, and in the darkness, you really tune into the stillness of the night, the tastes and smells in the air, the touch of the ground under your feet, and feel of breeze the on your skin... I can’t wait.
Maybe see you there.
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Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.