After 15 months of Covid, we’re craving ‘different’ like never before aren’t we? Lord knows there’s deep pleasure to be had in a pub lunch or spa treatment, but I’ve noticed a definite trend amongst people I know to be searching out more unusual experiences (for starters, it’s something new to talk about, right?) – and Secret Adventures fits the bill nicely, thanks very much.
If you’ve made the pilgrimage away from London into the Home Counties recently you may already know Secret Adventures, because they started out offering unusual, off-beat activities in the city, after founder Madoc Threipland returned from organising wild camping and youth expeditions in Tanzania and was seeking adventure in the capital.
This summer they’re putting on everything from night-time lake swimming and kayaking under Tower Bridge. But now as Londoners migrate into the countryside, the collection of special experiences is expanding to our neck of the woods (huzzah!), and the one I really have my eye on is the Foraging and Wild Cooking tour.
Basically, you and up to nine others meet at a secret, private location in Oxfordshire in the afternoon or early evening on 24 July (and subsequent months through to November), get led through beautiful, mature beech woods and are taken on a foraging expedition by the lovely Justine Gens, an expert forager and herbalist.
Justine then shows you what plants can and can’t be used for food (lest you end up hallucinating on a public bridleway somewhere), and teaches you tricks like how to pick nettles without being stung. You then all gather wood, light a fire, and then use your seasonal pickings to make foraged snacks – the likes of wood fired focaccia with wild thyme with nettle pesto – alongside freshly brewed herbal tea or hot chocolate. Plus you’ll have ultimate bragging rights amongst your less cool, rock star-like friends and a neat nettle party trick to impress your less green-fingered friends.
There are also some more unusual events in the pipeline including adventure documentary film nights in the old Henley Regatta grounds and a fairy-lit acoustic gig with bar and truck food in Bath’s temple of Minerva later this year. And that’s just for starters. Who said this stuff only happened in Hackney? The pandemic is over and we’re all coming out to play.