My love of coastal foraging began as a child, growing up in the same region I live now and exploring the coastlines of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire in southwest Wales. From a very young age, my father would take me with him fishing, picking nuts and collecting beach cockles.
The species you will find is completely down to the type of coastline: with rocky shores and rough waves you won’t find clams, but plenty of crabs that can cope with the conditions; and oysters only grow in sheltered areas like harbours or estuaries. Even on the same beach, different tidal zones provide habitats for varied species. Plantlife along the coast is an excellent place to start for beginners (before you get stuck into stunts like catching crabs with your bare hands!) and I always start my courses guiding people through the local woodlands, picking up some wild garlic on the way as the perfect flavouring for the day’s catch.
I’ve cooked plenty of times on the beach, often using a Solva Stove (Swedish Candle) made from a log. A great recipe for beginners would be to steam mussels with wild garlic and white wine (and you could buy the mussels if you weren’t able to forage them). Sprinkle pepper dulse seaweed on top, then serve with navelwort salad and rock samphire.