Foraging and the law

Before you head out for a foraging trip, it's important to be aware of the legal issues that might impact on your activities although the good news is that the law is on your side!

Foraging and the law

• The Theft Act (1968) states that in the case of mushrooms or plants growing wild on any land, you may take away foliage, fruit or parts of the plant without committing an offence, provided you are not taking them for commercial purposes. However, if you intend to sell the mushrooms or in some other way profit from them, you are breaking the law by taking them without the owner's permission.

• Be mindful of laws on trespassing when foraging, too. Unless the area you are in is common land, open access land, or a public right of way, then you are trespassing by entering it without the owner's permission, and the land owner has the right to ask you to leave by the shortest reasonable route, if they find you there.

• The Wild Mushroom Pickers' Code of Conduct, published by Natural England, gives guidance on good practice when foraging; in particular, it recommends that you ask permission of the owners of the land you are foraging on, follow the Country Code, and minimise damage to vegetation and the natural area. For more information, see

• Check on local by-laws before you head out too, as these may contain further restrictions; for example, some by-laws ban the collection of forest produce, which would include mushrooms.

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