On a lovely autumn morning, 30 people, a small baby and a dog gathered in Bush Wood for a fungus walk led by Tricia Moxey. Although Tricia warned that there was a possibility that there would be few fungi, she need not have worried. In fact, there was a group of Grey Fairy Bonnets right by where we had gathered! After that the group threw itself into fungi-finding with great gusto. With Tricia’s advice and identification tips we were treated to a wide range of species – more than 20 in all. These included Red-cracking Boletus, more Grey and White Fairy Bonnets growing on the ground, and Turkey Tail brackets and clusters of orange Hairy Curtain Crust on rotting wood. Delicate Fan fungi were found on smaller twigs. We also saw such beauties as Amethyst Deceiver, Verdigris Agaric and Stalked Puffball. The walk ended at the northern end of Wanstead Flats with the magical sight of a group of Fly Agarics. Thanks to Tricia’s informative talk, I think we all came away with a much better understanding of the importance of fungi for the natural environment. This value to the whole ecosystem highlights the dangers of the industrial-scale harvesting of wild fungi that is now taking place in parts of Epping Forest – and which must be stopped.
Sharon Payne, 25/10/2014