Exploring Nature's Pantry: Foraging in and around Beaucette Marina

March 2024

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Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Guernsey, Beaucette Marina offers more than just a scenic view of the sea. It's a haven for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and foodies alike, with its rich biodiversity providing ample opportunities for foraging. From wild herbs to coastal delicacies, Guernsey’s coast holds a cornucopia of edible treasures waiting to be discovered. 

We were lucky enough to spend a couple of hours exploring and foraging the coastline in and around Beaucette with local expert and registered tour guide, Malcolm Cleal.

We started our foraging experience at Bordeaux harbour, just a short walk from the marina. As the tide ebbs and flows, it unveils a treasure trove of edible delights along the shoreline. According to Malcolm, there are some 750 varieties of seaweeds available on Guernsey’ shoreline, each with its unique flavour and nutritional benefits. From the umami-rich wrack to the truffle-like delights of pepper dulse, seaweeds are a versatile ingredient that can be used for flavouring as well as thickening soups and stews. Malcolm finds some wild samphire growing on the harbour wall and picks some for us to try. It’s a vibrant green and looks a little like asparagus, it’s crisp to the bite and has a pleasantly salty flavour. We’re hooked and eager to find more species to try.

Apart from seaweeds, the rocky crevices also harbour other edible gems such as limpets, periwinkles and at certain time of the year, the ormer, unique to Channel Island waters. Malcolm scurries down to the waterline and returns with a familiar site, a limpet. He explains that they can be stewed or flattened and quickly fried. Super nutritious, these common molluscs are rich in omegas 3,6 and 9 and full of protein.

As we wander across the bay, we sample sea radish, a bitter green and then take the coastal path around to Vale Castle, where we identify and sample many different plants from wild leeks thought to have been introduced by the Romans, to fennel and sea mallow, which produces a sticky, albumen like substance, the origin of the marshmallow sweets we still know today. The views across to Herm are a bonus as we walk.

The path gently climbs as we approach Vale Castle, first established as the Abbey of St Michael, around A.D. 968 by monks from the Benedictine monastery of Mont Saint-Michel. It was used in the Nalpoleonic wars and remnants of its use by the Germans in WWII are still evident today. The views from the castle mount are far reaching and along the way, we find more gems such as the delicate pink blossoms of wild geranium, sour dock and pennywort, used for its exceptional antiseptic properties. 

On our return to the shoreline, Malcolm produces a bottle of his homemade fennel gin which he makes using the fresh stems, a little bit of sugar and of course, gin. It is of course, delicious and apparently is, ‘very good for colds’!

We thoroughly enjoyed our foraging experience, there’s so much to discover along the shoreline from Beaucette and Malcolm’s knowledge and easy manner make it a very relaxing and memorable thing to do.

Foraging offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and rediscover the culinary treasures hidden in the landscape. By foraging responsibly and with a deep respect for the environment, we can continue to enjoy nature's pantry for generations to come.

So, lace up your boots, sharpen your senses, and embark on a foraging adventure from Beaucette Marina—you never know what delicious surprises await just beyond the shore.

We will be offering foraging walks from Beaucette in the coming months, weather and tide dependent. Dates will be published shortly, however if you are keen to take part, please do get in touch at [email protected]