Current information about mushrooms, toadstools and other fungi depends largely on the results of the late autumn guided walk around the reserve led by Penny Cullington looking for fungi, which are often abundant at this time of year.
A record of these 'forays' appears at the bottom of this page.
On 28th October 2006 there was a good turn out from The Friends of Holtspur Bank for the Fungal Foray led by Chris Ryde in his capacity (at that time) as a Ranger for Wycombe District Council. The weather was fine but had previously been wet, so conditions looked promising. The wooded area of the nature reserve had been described by some as not being of much interest fungi-wise as little had been seen there previously. After a previous recce of the site it seemed that there might be fewer species than at some of the local fungi hot-spots such as Marlow Common. Closer inspection suggested that Fungal Foray participants would be quite surprised by the number of species found on the day.
As the morning got going, the children in the party were particularly good at foraging in the undergrowth to present me with yet another species exclaiming “What’s this one’s name?” Eventually 31 species of fungi were collected and identified. These included: the field mushroom (Agaricus campestris) - edible; Jelly ear (Auricularia auricular-judae) - edible; beefsteak (Fistulina hepatica) – edible; death cap (Amanita phalloides) – deadly poisonous; common ink cap (Coprinus atramentarius); white spindles (Clavaria vermicularis) and a wax cap (Hygrocybe persistens). These last two species are good indicators of unimproved grassland and, as such, are now much less common than they were.
It seems that fungi are rarely mentioned when the conservation of chalk grassland is talked about. Thought for the day perhaps?
Everyone appeared to enjoy the morning, especially when, said Chris “With my limited knowledge, I struggled to identify some species!”
Please remember that some wild fungi are delicious to eat, but that some can make you ill, or even kill you, if eaten. Unless you are absolutely sure about the species of fungus in question, do not eat it and, better still, do not handle it. If you have handled unknown fungi then you should keep your hands away from your mouth and wash your hands as soon as possible.