Begin foraging in Worthing this autumn
With the summer drawing to a close it’s time to embrace the changing of the seasons – autumn in Sussex is one of the most beautiful times of year. To be honest, they’re all pretty good, but autumn is particularly good!
Now’s the time to dig out your waterproof jacket (just in case) and walking boots. Don’t forget a good stack of Tupperware pots – it’s foraging central out there, blackberries and sloes are ripe and ready!
Where better to take a good hearty walk (with a spot of foraging thrown in) and views abound than wonderful Cissbury Ring, which forms part of the South Downs National Park owned by the National Trust.
Cissbury Ring stands on the site of an ancient Iron Age hill fort (the largest in Sussex). Although we quite like the folklore version which has it being formed when the devil dug a hole (Devils Dyke) in the South Downs to allow the sea to flood the Sussex Weald and all its churches. Supposedly the clods of earth then fell to the ground forming, amongst others, Cissbury Ring. In any case, with views reaching as far as Beachy Head on one side and the Isle of Wight on the other, it’s worth the climb.
Located just 5km from Worthing town centre it’s really easy to get to even if you don’t have a car – from Worthing centre hop on the number 1 bus (towards Storrington) or the 23 (to Crawley) or even better hire a Donkey Bike and peddle up there!
While you walk look out for blackberries (for apple and blackberry crumble, yum!) and sloes which can easily be made into Sloe Gin – now this will be the perfect homemade, locally sourced Christmas gift.
How to make Sloe Gin
450g / 1lb of sloes
225g / 8oz of caster sugar
1 litre / 1¾ pint of gin
Prick the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle and put in a large sterilised jar.
Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal tightly and shake well.
Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for at least two months.
Strain the sloe gin through muslin into a sterilised bottle.
Recipe taken from BBC Food website