Highwoods Preservation Society Reg. Charity No: 282289
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Fungi Foray
YOU win some. You lose some. Sometimes the winning streak comes when it is least expected.

Highwoods Preservation Society's first Fungi Foray of the Autumn was set a trifle optimistically for Saturday, September 12. Would there be much fungi - if any - to find so early in the season? It was something of a gamble.

When the twelfth dawned wet and miserable all seemed lost. However, having advertised the guided walk in search of Autumn's fruiting bodies, the organisers had no option but to turn up at the woodland car park and see how much enthusiasts materialised.

Then fortune smiled. The sun broke through the clouds and the rain stopped. It was a comfortably-sized party which set off at 10am, led by Woodland Warden Alan Dengate and including one enthusiast so keen that he had come by bus from Eastbourne for the purpose. Sadly, our Chairman John Heasman was unable to join us on this occasion and add his expertise to Alan's.

First stop was a dead Scots Pine near the entrance to the woods. Alan knew he was on safe ground there, having made a careful reconnaissance. Sure enough, there were Chicken in the Woods mushrooms. Soon Alan was showing the visitors Yellow Rusula and Green Elf Cup. The party moved on, scouring among the leaf litter and on dead and fallen trees for more gems. Some walkers had brought pocket guides; others touted cameras. All were rewarded with fresh sightings. There was Tough Shank and TurkeyTail, Birch Bolete and Milk Cap.

Camera shutters clicked. Well-thumbed pocket guides were consulted. The Woodland Warden explained the society's policy of retaining standing dead timber where it is safe to do so. The effectiveness of this was clear to see, especially when Alan showed the group the masses of Bracket Fungus to be found of one of the woods' big mature Beeches.

One genus was eluding the party. But Alan had an ace up his sleeve. There is an area near another of the woods's iconic Scots Pines where Stinkhorn are usually to be found. Sure enough, the morning's lucky streak continued to the very end. To the experienced nose the odour (akin to rotting meat) was unmistakable. Alan was spoilt for choice for an emergent example to cut in half so the cross-section could be shown to the group. Though nothing which had not previously been logged on the society's list of flora and fauna was found, it was a promising start to what always proves to be a popular seasonal series of walks.

Further Saturday Fungi Forays dates to be arranged and will all starting at 10 am
Highwoods SSSI