There has been an almighty outcry at the prospect of the Government "selling off all the forests". Some of this has been knee jerk left-wing, 'we hate privatisation' response but others have been rightly concerned about access - especially for leisure. As the Forestry Commission trade union bloke told us:
Once we've sold it, it never comes back. Once it is sold, restrictions are placed on the land which means the public don't get the same access to the land and facilities that are provided by the public forest estate
So there you go - save the forests! The People's Forests! Unless of those people are mushroom pickers in which case, oh no, you can't get your pleasure in the forest. You are bad people. You are "destroying ecosystems". You must desist!
this new generation of foodies and foragers are beginning to trample the forests and fields that feed them – as well as many animals and insects, warn those who look after the UK's woodlands and nature reserves
Like cyclists, walkers, runners and wildlife photographers don't?
What really annoys the "conservation" groups of course is that some people are making money from mushroom picking. There are teams of commercial pickers who gather wild mushrooms for sale to posh restaurants and fancy delis. So why not do what Antonio Carluccio says then?
The chef, who does not use wild mushrooms in his cafes and delis, believes there should be licences for commercial collectors to ensure they behave responsibly, as there are in many other European countries. "There should be more discipline in collecting: not trampling everything, not destroying everything and to be limited to what you can consume. But don't deprive people of the wonders of going to the woods for the mushrooms,"
Now that's a great idea - just selling a limited number of 'rights' to collect mushrooms! Get some income (like you do from fishing rights, from pannage or from grazing) and ensure that the mushroom stock is sustained. And for hobby pickers - have a licensing system (back to fishing again) or a membership system.
Don't just stop us.