Coastal Foraging in North Devon

On a recent trip to Croyde Beach, I was suprised at the amount of mussels there were along the rocky outcrops once the tide had gone out. I naturally had a go a picking some off and taking them home to cook. This was at the very start of September, so luckily as the old saying goes, there was a ‘R’ in the month. It is best to avoid mussels during the summer months as the warmer waters can produce higher bacteria levels.

The mussels were found in large groups, stuck to the rocks, they are held to the rocks by tough thread, usually called the beard. These beards hold them securely to the rocks even through the stormiest of days.

When picking the mussels make sure you do not pick the ones that are broken or open in any way, they have to be firmly closed. The great thing about mussels is they are simple to cook, simply pour them into a pan add a small bottle of beer, and some garlic and just wait for the mussels to open.

Croyde Surf Academy run a sea foraging session where you can experience the delights of Coastal Foraging along the shoreline in North Devon. Expect to find edible plants and seaweeds, crabs, mussels, whelks and even lobster. Courses are run by Matt (The Gourmet Forager) and last about two hours. Courses run at weekends during low season and 7 days a week in peak season (around low tide). Meeting point at the Academy’s Big Blue Bus, the cost includes wetsuit hire and insurance. For More information please click here

Mussels in Beer

Serves: 1 people | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes


1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 leek, finely chopped
500 grams mussels, bearded and scrubbed
1 small bottle of beer


Rinse the bearded and scrubbed mussels thoroughly. Drain the water dry. Heat up a pot with the melted butter/olive oil on medium heat. Saute the garlic and leek for a few minutes. Add the mussels into the pot and stir to combine with the garlic and onion. Pour in the beer and cover the pot, for a few minutes, or until the mussels are open and cooked.

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