A SKIPTON restaurant is embracing foraging and is celebrating spring with flavours inspired by the wild garlic of the town’s ancient woodland.

Skipton Castle Woods, just a few minutes away from Alexander’s Bar and Kitchen at the top of the High Street, is an example of one of England’s rare ancient woodlands and each spring, the woodland is carpeted with an abundance of aromatic wild ramsons, more commonly known as wild garlic.

Luke Dawson, Alexander’s acting head chef, said: “We approached the Woodland Trust who manage the woodland, to ask if we could sustainably forage wild garlic from a restricted area of the wood to use in our kitchen.”

He said wild garlic leaves have a delicate flavour, similar to chives.

“Taking advantage of wild food on our doorstep helps us all to appreciate and understand versatility of wild seasonal produce, and unlike common cultivated garlic it is the leaves that are eaten rather than the bulbs,” he said.

The restaurant has made a donation to the Woodland Trust to help support part of the woodlands event programme this year.

Susannah Daley, owner of Alexander’s, said: “Skipton Castle Woods is a natural oasis in the heart of the town. Many of our customers and their families enjoy spending time in the woodland and we are delighted to be supporting the delivery of the Willow Lantern Walk later this year by making a donation towards the event.”

Hazel Birdsall, visitor experience manager for Skipton Castle Woods said: “We would like to thank Alexanders for supporting our work protecting woods and trees and for their approach to ask for advice on sustainable foraging in the wood.”

For more information about foraging in Skipton Castle Woods, and other Woodland Trust sites, including tips on what can be safely harvested and when, visit: woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/things-to-do/foraging/foraging-guidelines