My name is Melissa Waddingham and I am a truffle hunter and wild mushroom picker. In the spring and autumn months I run mushroom forays, truffle hunts, talks, courses and throughout the year I provide truffle hound training days for your truffle hound to be.
I also manage woodlands for the sustainable production of truffle. For more information regarding these services, click on the relevant tab above on the main bar or contact me.
Dates of up and coming events will be posted and group numbers are small with a maximum of ten people so I do advise that you book well in advance. One to one and smaller group forays/courses are also available.
Truffle hunting is an uncommon practice here in England and the rare opportunity to have a go with a trained dog and its owner is an experience not to be missed for a great day out!
Zebedee and I truffle hunting in picture below, taken by Derek Martin from at West Sussex County Times.
I have early memories of foraging with my grandfather in Champagne, France gathering Chanterelles I was never aware that he secretly slipped out and came home with the odd truffle in his pocket, apparently only for special customers and family as he ran an auberge that was very popular with the locals for his sublime food.. It was my father who told me about my Grandfather and his truffle antics, when I presented him with ten or eleven of my own! I found this instantly gratifying realising that my passion truly was in the blood.
Foraging for fungi has been a way of life for centuries, especially abroad. In England, mushroom picking seems to be viewed with suspicion and is not a common past time for those living in the country as it is in countries like France, Italy and Eastern Europe. Trends are now slowly changing and more people are more interested in foraging for fungi these days.
Apart from the fact that mushroom hunting can be a deadly past time and needs a professional eye cast over before consumption, mushroom picking codes of practice must be strict and carried out for their sustainability and care of the environment. This is because they play a major part our in ecology which is essential and not commonly appreciated. The relationship that fungi have with trees and other plants is phenomenal and our world would not be the same without them. I have studied forestry and woodland management and my real fascination lies within how woodlands function, understanding all the complex relationships within this environment.
A photo of me when I was out filming with John Craven for Countryfile