On Sunday 6th November I led a fungi walk in Aldershot in Hampshire, on behalf of Brimstones.
Interesting fact: Aldershot means a piece of land (‘shot’) home to alder trees. It’s the same for the placename of Oakshot, sometimes with an extra ‘t’ included. Helpfully, there were plenty of alder trees on this walk and more than enough rain to keep them happy.
I whipped round the woodland to gather some specimens for the walk intro. The conditions were rough – high winds and lashing rain. I actually failed to find much of note for the first half an hour looking. It was only until moving into a heathy area of birch and oak that things began to pop.
That said, I wouldn’t describe the mushroom situation as of 6th November as ‘popping’. More like slopping. There had been heavy downpours that morning and across the previous week. This means mushrooms are quite washed out or else just mush!
That said, when the attendees for the walk joined up and we began looking with all those extra pairs of eyes (and some lovely late afternoon sunshine) we found so much more than I could see alone in the rain. It’s a reminder that the role of a walk leader is not to know everything (ha) but to enable others to tune in and learn something yourself in return.
I collected a bunch of species, some already uprooted, to show to the group at the start and give a sense of what we were looking for. This included a brittlegill, false deathcap, brown birch bolete, coral fungus, sulphur knight, sulphur tuft, and white saddle.
Upon walking through the site I was thinking about dog stinkhorn and, moments later, I saw that very species collapsed in some bramble. Visualise the mushrooms you want to see in the world is my advice. The problem is that this is a visually challenging species.
Other less common sightings (for my eyes anyway) were elfin saddles. These are similar to the white saddles also seen here but are often smaller and have a blue-grey cap, if you could call it that. I took a pic but can’t bear to share it as it’s out of focus and very dark.
What I didn’t take photos of were lots of brittle gills, some fly agaric, and the hundreds of small bonnets in the leaf litter. It had the feel of a season passing its peak.
Thanks for reading.
Further reading: Fungi