VILD MAD foraging rules
VILD MAD’s foraging rules are a streamlined version of Denmark’s law. Here you will find answers on how, where, and when you are allowed to forage.
The rules presented here are not an exhaustive guide to how to behave in nature; for that, look to the Nature Protection Law (“Naturbeskyttelsesloven”), the Access Act (“Adgangsbekendtgørelsen”), and the Field and Road Peace Act (“Mark- og Vejfredsloven”).
In Denmark, everyone is guaranteed access to natural areas and is allowed to move freely within them, but landowners – whether private or public– can expand access beyond what the law specifies. In protected areas, public access may be more restricted or more expansive than normal regulations guarantee.
So, you are allowed to spend time in any natural area in Denmark, but when and how you may forage depends on the type of environment you are in, and on who owns it.
As a general rule for all environments and forms of ownership, you are allowed to move around any natural environment from 6 AM to sunset, foraging herbs, berries, fruit, mushrooms, and flowers for your own consumption. In private areas, however, you are only allowed to forage what you can reach from the road or path, unless another agreement has been made. According to the Code of Jutland (”Jyske Lov”), which was drafted in 1241 but still applies today, you are allowed to forage as much as you can fit inside your hat. In contemporary terms, that would be the equivalent of a small plastic bag. You are not allowed to forage for commercial purposes, nor are you allowed to uproot or prune any plants.
Below, you’ll find information on what is permissible in different categories of natural environments. We call these environments ‘foraging landscapes.’
Foraging Landscape: Forests(The Nature Agency: Forest)
In a public forest, you are allowed to forage anywhere, while in private forests you may only take what you can reach from the path. In public forests you are allowed to forage around the clock, but in private forests you are limited to the hours between 6 AM and sunset.
Foraging Landscape: Beaches and Salt Marshes(The Nature Agency: Beaches and dunes)
You are allowed to forage anywhere on a beach, and, as long as the time spent there isn’t excessive, in salt marshes as well. These rules apply at all times.
Foraging Landscape: Urban Areas, Grasslands, Field Drains, Hedgerows, Lakes, Streams and Rivers(The Nature Agency: Uncultivated areas (commons, bogs, moors, non-cultivated meadows etc.)
You are always allowed to forage in uncultivated public areas, while foraging on uncultivated private areas is limited to the hours between 6 AM and sunset.
If the area is private, you can contact the owner, and ask for permission to forage at different hours. You can find the owner through your municipality or by accessing the website www.boligejer.dk, which identifies the owners of posted properties.
The most important rule is to be prudent and treat nature with respect and consideration. Both out of respect for the land’s plants and wildlife, and out of respect for the people who own and inhabit it, we should behave responsibly, and cherish our access to the land.
If you follow these simple rules, you can enjoy foraging with a clean conscience. Be aware that additional local restrictions may apply for reasons of security or public order, or to protect the environment. Don’t count on finding these restrictions on site; the best way to stay informed is by following statements and preservation documents issued by the municipality you want to visit, or by visiting www.boligejer.dk.
VILD MAD’s foraging rules are based on the Nature Agency leaflet ”Don't keep off nature.” You can read it here (Danish):