Fishing and Foraging in Dorset

The wind is blowing and the rain coming down. Hard to believe that only last week I was sitting on Studland Beach watching the sun set over the sea while eating lobster cooked on a barbecue beside me. With fairy lights twinkling in the overhanging branches, we tucked into an amazing feast that started with samphire and sea purslane leaves – tasty nibbles with a salty kick – followed by sea-cured mackerel on home-baked soda bread – a sort of mackerel sushi – delicious lobsters with sea vegetable aioli, local watercress and potatoes roasted on the fire.

We washed it all down with homemade blackberry lemonade and Studland grape juice, and wine made just along the coast near Weymouth. So all about as local as it gets.

Believe it or not, our pudding was a fantastic seaweed pannacotta with rosehip syrup – thankfully I couldn’t taste the seaweed (carrageen), which was used to set the pannacotta. What’s more, much of what we were eating I had caught, gathered or foraged myself, under the guidance of Dan, our fishing and foraging expert and co-founder of Fore Adventure.

Dan runs foraging, kayaking and bushcraft courses all of which are based on finding food from the land and sea, and then enjoying a fantastic foraged feast around a campfire on the beach.

The kayak trips are great fun, heading along the foreshore to gather edible seaweed and plants – and, if you’re lucky, crabs and cockles. Then, it’s out towards Old Harry Rocks to set the lobster and shrimp pots, stopping for a spot of fishing off the kayak on the way back – black bream, seabass and mackerel are all regularly caught in these waters.

Back on land, Dan’s expert foraging skills help us to identify and gather whatever seasonal produce is available – there are still blackberries and rosehips at this time of year, and of course mushroom season is coming – and he is also a mine of useful information about the medical properties of local plants. In the woods, we learn some bushcraft skills (Dan's a graduate of the renowned Woodcraft School in Sussex) – how to build a shelter,  a selection of camp skills, including how to build a fire and cook on it – so that we know the best way to prepare and cook our foraged feast.

Then it’s back to the beach to put our skills into practice as the sun slowly sets behind Old Harry Rocks. And believe me, there’s nothing more satisfying, or tasty, than cooking and eating food that you have picked or caught yourself after a healthy day outdoors.

Fore Adventure can take you foraging and fishing, kayaking and coasteering, teach bushcraft and, and tailor-make foraging feasts and adventures from their base at Middle Beach in Studland.

Check out our Dorset, Bournemouth & Poole and New Forest guides for the best places to stay near Studland Bay.

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