Looking for wild garlic is one of the safest and most accessible ways to start for novice foragers. It’s easy to find, easy to identify, and tastes flippin’ epic.
It has long, broad green leaves with a single main vein, although when young, the leaves are narrower and more tapered. With its pungent garlic smell – particularly if you break the leaves – it’s very hard to confuse this plant with anything else. However, the lovely folk at Wildfood UK warn “Be careful to check each leaf when you’re picking though – lords & ladies (prickly and not edible) are popping up in the exact same places – so never grab a handful indiscriminately, pick each leaf carefully.”
The flowers, buds and leaves are all edible. For recipe ideas, click here.
Keen to have a go at foraging for wild garlic in Cardiff? These are my favourite places to find it – just remember never to take more than you need.
Cwm George Woods, Michaelston-le-Pit
Technically just outside Cardiff, but my favourite spot so it made the guide. It’s a Gorgeous patch of woodland managed by Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales. In spring, the ancient trees are surrounded by wild garlic as far as the eye can see (picture above taken last week).
Thompsons Park, Canton
I legitimately treat this place like my own little wild garlic larder as it’s only 5 minutes down the road from me. Head to the shady area behind the pond for the best pickings.
The Wild Gardens is the area to the north of the lake, dedicated to native trees, plants and wild flowers in a park environment where the public could learn about and appreciate them. I spent my early teenage years messing about in those trees complaining about the smell of wild garlic, there’s loads of it!
At the top of Bute Park, past the bouncy Blackweir bridge, and on the same side as the Big Tesco ‑ that’s the sweet spot for wild garlic picking.
Insole Court, Llandaff
Head to the leafy gardens to the side of the grand old mansion house to find the wild garlic growing under the shade of the massive old trees.
Alexandra Park, Penarth
This well-preserved Edwardian public park sits in an attractive location overlooking the Bristol Channel. Loads of wild garlic to be found under the shade of the old trees.
Also known as Coed-y-Wenallt, this is an area of semi natural ancient woodland to the north of Cardiff. Spring at the Wenallt means bluebells and wild garlic as far as the eye can see.
Based on the Ely taff trail is a 1.6 mile (3500-step) route located near Cardiff, Wales. Another great spot on this side of Cardiff, lots of shady trees = perfect wild garlic growing conditions.
An area of ancient woodland with several nature conservation designations including Special Area of Conservation. A popular spot for foraging wild garlic last year, this is also one of my favourite places for a Sunday walk.
Parc Coed Y Nant
The tree-covered parkland opposite the Coed Y Gores estate in Llanedeyrn is carpeted with wild garlic at this time of year; in fact, locals tell me, if there’s a patch of wood in CF23, you can bet there’s garlic!
Plymouth Great Wood
Find these woods in the Ely Valley, just on the edge of St Fagans, home of the Museum of Welsh Life. The wood itself has plenty of paths and tracks lined with wild garlic and the Ely River runs along the northern edge.
What to cook with Wild Garlic
For some ideas on what to make with your wild garlic haul – and some easy methods for making wild garlic butter, wild garlic salt, and wild garlic infused olive oil – check out this post: Three Easy Ways with Wild Garlic. This recipe for wild garlic pesto is also great: riverford.co.uk/recipes/wild-garlic-pesto.
Know any more wild garlic patches that should be on the list? Let me know in the comments and I’ll update!
For info about foraging courses available in Cardiff and across the UK, see: www.wildfooduk.com.