“I love look­ing for fungi at this time of year”

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Discover -

“There’s some­thing about walk­ing that taps into an in­nate hu­man need. We were de­signed to travel long dis­tances on foot to find food and shel­ter, and that in­stinct still lies deep within our souls. Au­tumn is my favourite time to be out tramp­ing in the coun­try­side – the crisp air feels re­fresh­ing even when I’m bun­dled up in a scarf, and it feels like there’s more time to stop and breathe in the sur­round­ings – the rus­set colours of the leaves, mists cling­ing to hill­tops and the scur­ry­ing of wildlife pre­par­ing for the win­ter months.

I also love look­ing for fungi at this time of year. They can be easy to miss, but once you start look­ing out for them you’ll prob­a­bly dis­cover them ev­ery­where. There are thou­sands of weird and won­der­ful va­ri­eties, from the bright or­ange-yel­low (and fan­tas­ti­cal­ly­named) yel­low brain fun­gus, to scar­let elf cups – which are of­ten called ‘fairies’ baths’ due to their tiny cup-shaped body. It’s im­por­tant not to pick fungi as some can be poi­sonous, and they’re also a valu­able food source for wildlife and play

They can be to miss, but once you start look­ing… you’ll prob­a­bly dis­cover them ev­ery­where.”

a cru­cial role in ecosys­tems – break­ing down dead tis­sue from plants and an­i­mals into nu­tri­ents that can be used by trees and plants. How­ever there’s still a thrill in seek­ing them out and see­ing how many kinds you can spot cling­ing to logs or tucked away among tree roots.

The Na­tional Trust cares for thou­sands of miles of walk­ing trails, in­clud­ing some lo­ca­tions that are great for spot­ting fungi. My per­sonal favourite is Long­shaw in the Peak Dis­trict where there are over 1000 va­ri­eties, in­clud­ing eye-catch­ing fly agar­ics ( pic­tured) and jelly fungi. They run a ‘click, don’t pick’ cam­paign where you can take pho­tos of your finds and email them to the team to help them mon­i­tor the es­tate’s fungi.”

WALK IT: Find more about Long­shaw’s fungi and wood­land ex­plorer walk at www.na­tion­al­trust.org.uk/long­shaw­burbage-and-the-eastern-moors

Says: Liz Nel­strop, Walk­ing Project Man­ager for the Na­tional Trust

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