BLOG: Wild woodland products – Dewis Gwyllt update

Posted on December 11, 2019 by

Dewis Gwyllt News

December 2019

We’re nearing the end of the first year of Dewis Gwyllt and a lot has happened since January 2019. Dewis Gwyllt / Wild Choice is the three-year RDP Supply chain project that Llais y Goedwig is working on in partnership with Wild Resources Limited.

The premise of the project is to develop supply chains for sustainably harvested wild products from woodlands to see if this can provide an income source for Wales’ community woodlands. The project will allow us to scope resources, test new products and processing methods and help LlyG members and other small woodland owners to begin producing and marketing products.

2019 round up

We had originally identified a range of wild products spread over the seasons – birch sap, wild garlic, elderflower, bilberry and sloe. We started at the beginning of the year on birch sap and followed on with initial work on wild garlic. The summer was spent promoting Dewis Gwyllt and our first products at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, National Eisteddfod, Anglesey Woodland Festival and various other events. We had a great reception to DG as a concept and what we had found out about birch and wild garlic! Watch this space for news of where we’ll be in 2020!

Getting off to an early start, Wild Resources Ltd set about tapping birch from two experimental sites in North West Wales in March 2019. The collected sap was reduced down into birch syrup. This proved to be a delicious multi layered taste experience for the lucky people who came to the LlyG stand including Lesley Griffiths the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. Sample bottles of the finished product was also given out to local restaurants, ice cream makers, and brewers to test the market and gain feedback and hopefully orders for next year.

Wild Resources Ltd also started investigating the life cycle and impacts of harvesting wild garlic. This led to the realisation that this species has slower replenishment rates than suggested in the foraging literature and that sustainable harvesting would require careful planning.

What’s next for Dewis Gwyllt – 2020 Plans

2020 will see four Llais y Goedwig member groups getting involved in commercial trials of tapping their own birch trees and making syrup for sale. These groups are located in North, Mid and South Wales, and will be testing different processing methods as well as local markets and marketing strategies with their own, high value products.

We’ll also be doing more research into wild garlic – uses and potential delicacies that can be produced sustainably…

New for 2020 will be:

  • Scoping out the potential for creating elderflower supply chains and thinking of the potential for community picking and where the markets are.
  • We’ve just received delivery of an exciting steam distillation kit and will be experimenting with small scale production of essential oils from plants.
  • Offering Community Woodland Groups training to undertake an inventory of their wild woodland resources and identify products that could be made from them.
  • Workshops and One to One surgeries to explore particular ideas for harvesting and processing woodland resources into added value products.

For more information on all of the above and to learn how your group can get involved visit the Dewis Gwyllt pages of the Llais y Goedwig website

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