We've got pretty lucky with our neighbours so far in Studland and amongst them is founder of Kodomo Travel, Cass Chapman, just a hop, skip and a jump away at Shell bay, a beauty of a spot where we can often be found playing in the dunes with our small humans, gorging on picnics and recreating tales of Enid Blytons famous 5.
Cass is a freelance food and travel writer and having had her daughter Lola in 2011, she decided to create a website providing much-needed, authentic, well-written information for parents on where to eat, stay and play with babies, toddlers and young teens in tow. Kodomo travel celebrates everything we love; simply enjoying exploring with your smalls in tow and seeking out mini (& BIG) adventures. So with that in mind Cass decided to pay us a visit and take a peak behind the scenes of how and why we live our #lifethroughadventure....here's what she found out;
C: You may not have heard of The Isle of Purbeck, but it is about as good as seaside country escape destinations get. A peninsular that wraps around the Dorset coast of England like a curl. Studland, a village that punctuates the center of the peninsular, is a magnet for foodies thanks to the latest Pig Hotel opening – The Pig on the Beach - and Fore Adventure. The former is an effortlessly chic country house hotel and the latter is a business that runs along the ethos of businesses connecting people with nature and food. So, whether you opt to kayak or canoe, camp, forage, bushcraft or feast, you will undoubtedly be doing just that. Jade and Dan Scott, the clever couple behind the company, offer everything from family foraging days to adult-only expeditions to summer beach schools for kids, with local culinary results that are the stuff of legend. I chat to Dan about what to expect.
C: WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START FORE ADVENTURE?
F/A: We wanted to relocate from Southampton to the country for a slice of the good life and to live out an itching desire to connect with nature as more of our daily norm. I guess the idea behind setting up Fore/adventure was that we care about getting people outdoors and the positive impact it has on people’s lives. And we wanted a sense of adventure; we wanted a new challenge in a new place.
C: WHAT DID YOU FEEL YOU WERE ABLE TO OFFER IN TERMS OF FORAGING THAT WAS UNIQUE TO THE AREA?
F/A: One of the key things we have at our disposal is that we can reach amazing areas you can’t reach by foot. We can access places by kayak and when we’re snorkeling or coasteering it opens up the realms of foraging for us. Seaweed and sea vegetables might be more “on trend” with chefs but, for most of our clients, when they come in and start picking and preparing seaweed, it just blows their mind. And for us it’s not about the end goal; it’s about the actual going out catching and hunting and identifying everything. The adventurous process underpins all our foraging. The other thing we have is our coastal spot and such a diverse land environment, so the sea, sand dunes and heathlands all provide such an amazing location on our doorstep. We can get into some of the more inaccessible parts of Poole harbour and go where people can’t often walk to because of the mud flats. Traditionally, when people are doing seashore foraging they will go out on spring low tides so they can walk whereas, we have snorkels and wet suits so we can get straight in the water and go hand diving for spider crabs in Swanage bay, and we get to the bases of the cliffs around Old Harry rocks. If we’re coasteering it means we can get unique seaweeds that are rare and hard to come by on foot.
C: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE ISLE OF PURBECK?
F/A: It chose us really. It’s the same old story for most people who relocate here, but we’ve been camping here since we were children. It’s such a diverse environment with woods, heathland, seashore and beach, which guarantee a whole scope of adventure. And there is a very strong sense of community here. We just wanted the dream of being by the sea and bringing up our little people.
C: HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR CLIENTELE?
F/A: It is quite mixed. From small people to big people, we call all adventurers, and our clients are people who just love to learn and educate through experience, people who separate work from the weekend, people intrigued to explore the alternative, people who want to make memories, have tales to tell friends, and people who long to give their children the same carefree childhood they had.
C: CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH SOME OF THE BEST LOCAL PRODUCE AND FISH THAT YOU FORAGE FOR THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?
F/A: Each season brings new bounty and we love to share what we find and use it to make up recipes for our foraged feasts and to post on our #fridayforage blog and inspire #sundaysuppers. We love the simple things, we look forward to cockles and catching the mackerel from our kayaks, the sampshire and sea purslane is a real favourite and of course berry season. You have to love rosehips and blackberries. The simple forages are often the best and there is nothing better than seeing your kids grabbing blackberries and rubbing them all over their faces. We have year round access to seaweed and I’m obsessed with it. Nettles (we love a bit of stinging nettle action) and gorse which is all over the place here – you can chuck a bit of that in your flask of hot water or make up some of our gorse syrup and have yourself a whisky sour with a difference.
C: WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? HOW DID YOUR INTEREST IN FORAGING COME ABOUT?
F/A: The job I was doing directly prior to this was managing an outdoor center so I was sat behind a desk sending others off kayaking and adventuring. If you’re an outdoor person you don’t want to be behind a desk. You need to be outside otherwise you just aren’t happy. I became really interested in food growing up. I had a big group of friends and we all lived really close together. A few Italian mates had mums who would shout at them to bring something back when we went out in the local area. We ended up doing a lot of urban foraging and I just become obsessed with recipes and making tasty food.
C: WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE OF THE COMPANY?
F/A: We would expand if we were working in the right environment. What is key for us is the sensitivity of how we operate. We don’t want a big business because small and family-run is perfect for us and we can maintain the quality but also because of our location in the Isle of Purbeck; we lease off the National Trust and we’re on a sensitive spot. There is only so much work we feel that we can sensitively and ethically do in this location.
C: COULD YOU KINDLY GIVE US FIVE TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL FORAGING?
- Carry scissors and a plastic bag at all times.
- Get a good guidebook – an identification book - and keep it in your ruck sack. There are some classic foraging books such as Roger Philips’ Wild Foods and Food Free by Richard Maybe, but these won’t help you identify everything so also check out the Collins’ Wild Flower book and the Collin’s Field Books, for example.
- What grows wild is there because it was left space to grow. Take it sensitively to ensure sustainability. There are good and bad ways to forage so make sure you know which is which.
- Keep your eyes peeled and be on guard. Not everything is what it seems so be careful what you’re getting your hands on. Don’t poison yourself basically and, if in doubt, don’t eat it.
- Book yourself on a local foraging course as we all learn from experience. There are so many exciting people working, delivering and teaching around England so make the most of it. Get yourself some tuition.
So there we are, we've shared with you the whys and why nots and what #lifethroughadventure means to us, now it must be your turn! Tag your adventures with #lifethroughadventure and connect with us on twitter, instagram and facebook and we will pick our stand out of the week, and every month we will do a round up of how you are living your life through adventure on the blog with our faves....happy adventuring
* mucho thanks to Cass Chapman at Kodomo Travel and Justin Glynn for photography.