Foraging and walking for wellness
Foraging walks in any season are one of my favourite ways to get outside, and now the clocks have gone back and winter is drawing in, getting outside and getting some much-needed Vitamin D is even more important. I’ve been out exploring in my new FitFlop WonderWelly boots – the WonderWelly makes the perfect comfortable and waterproof wellington boots for outdoor adventures.
It’s easy to feel tempted to draw the curtains, stick on Bake Off and snuggle under a blanket when the weather gets chilly, but getting outside just for an hour or so has proven benefits for both our physical and mental health. Rambling in nature will get your body moving, put colour in your cheeks and lift your mood. And just 15 minutes spent outdoors in winter can give you the boost of Vitamin D (which we get from sunshine) that your body needs – even on overcast days.
Whether or not your go searching for your supper on your next walk, you’ll be surprised how many nature spots and wild places are practically on your doorstep once you look at a map and get planning an adventure. I have plenty of wonderful nature walks near me in Somerset, or try one of my favourite walking routes near London, all wild spaces less than an hour from the capital.
Autumn is the best and the most bountiful season for the forager. As the leaves turn russet and gold, chestnuts ripen on trees and mushrooms sprout in woodland clearings. I find the food of the forest irresistible, and just listing the goodies that are now ripe for the picking sounds like writing poetry – rowan, damson, crab apple, rose hip, sweet chestnut. But the easiest to identify for beginners are nettles, perfect for making my nettle soup recipe, and blackberries, lovely in a comforting berry crumble.
Whatever you collect, take only what you can eat and leave plenty behind for wildlife. Don’t forage near roads, to avoid polluted plants. And if you’ve never foraged before, stick to very easily identifiable crops, and see if there’s a local wild food course you can take.
If you’re in need of a bit of calm and head space, you could even try a spot of walking meditation on your next trip outside. My friend Maria and I like to take long walks in the wild where we purposefully don’t talk, concentrating instead on the sounds, sights and smells of nature. And I think both walking and foraging are naturally mindful, allowing you to set a slow pace, to engage with your surroundings and to focus on the little details. Who knew walking could be such an easy path to wellness?
Don’t forget to wrap up warm on your wellness walk. Pack a waterproof coat, layer up under a woolly jumper and beanie and consider wearing base layers if it’s really freezing. And if you’re roaming the countryside all say in search of edible goodies, you’re definitely going to need some comfy, waterproof wellington boots.
The welly revolution
Meet my irresistibly cheerful new red wellingtons. FitFlop‘s newly-launched women’s wellies, the WonderWelly is definitely the most comfortable welly I’ve ever worn, and is perfect for exploring in all day long. Unlike traditional, inflexible wellington boots, the WonderWelly boots have delightfully cushiony, flexible soles that make them light and springy to walk in, mile after mile after mile. Mine are the longer length version, and fit perfectly thanks to soles designed to mirror the shape of your feet and adjustable straps on the calf. And they really are deliciously comfortable – I’ll definitely be cheating on my hiking boots with these in the future. And of course, like any good wellington boots the WonderWelly is fully waterproof, so you can stride through leaves and splash in puddles to your heart’s content.
FitFlop’s new WonderWelly comes in short and long versions and a rainbow of colours – mine are the Wonderwelly tall wellington boots in red, which cost £90.