Friday, 18 October 2013


Two Stinkhorns (Phallus impudicus) found at the edge of the glade in OC1. Flies feeding on the spores have eaten away the smelly grey cap exposing the white honeycomb structure beneath.

Friday, 11 October 2013

More fungi

Two more species successfully identified: Boletus luridus and Cortinarius violaceus

Boletus luridiformis (syn Boletus erythropus)  the 'lurid bolete'. Found several clusters each about half a dozen strong growing in the pine in OC1 - just off the new clearing. 'Roger's Mushrooms' suggests 'habitat in coniferous, broad-leaved and mixed woodland. Identifiable by the colour, and the way the strong sturdy stem hardly narrows at all, just goes straight into the cap like a tree trunk. Also discolours blue immediately when cut. Supposed to be edible when cooked - I'm not going to try.

Cortinarius violaceus  - purple webcap. Found one broken specimen  near the path by the pond at the northern end of OC1. Took home to identify - see Key features not only colour but shape and the faint woolly covering. Photos do not do it justice. Rare.

Finally, is this a type of honey fungus? Or possibly the shaggy scalecap (Pholiota squarrosa). More research needed. Growing on several old birch stumps cut c 3 years ago in OC1.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

What goes on when we're not there

 Old Copse goes on doing what woods do, whether we are there or not,  Every visit reveals traces of the secret life of the wood - sometimes  baffling,  sometimes unwelcome. For example, the extensive looping track made with soot or coal dust near the Southern boundary that we came across recently; who made it and why? Was it part of a game, a spell? who knows. Pieces of  string painstakingly tied  round tree trunks in the new clearing, and so carefully knotted. An occult ceremony perhaps?  A definite whiff of Blair Witch there.

 Other traces aren't so intriguing, such as the litter to be found both sides of the Grouse Road boundary - we picked up a couple of large bags today on our regular collection - and  the  collapsing fences where people have climbed over. We did some emergency dry hedge repairs, but  more permanent solutions are needed. Placing large logs on the verge near the most vulnerable parts of the fence could help deter people from parking  and climbing over. Another addition for the to do list.

The beautiful Autumn weather has attracted a few uninvited visitors recently,  such as the aggressive Eastern European family -  probably Roumanian , (sorry if that sounds like the  Daily Mail)  who we found crashing around in the birch, intent on mushrooms. They already had one large basket and a huge plastic bag full to bursting with boletus. The fat father responded to Sarah's challenge  with ,   'I come here many time' and particularly charmingly,  'f***k off  f *****g  b**ch. Sarah ordered them off and was given a final farewell of  'you snob' (eh?) as he and his family clambered back over the fence, and into their large silver BMW. Nice. Other visitors were two very polite young Russians, and an amateur photographer from Horsham who has known Old Copse since he was a boy, and who said that he's never met anyone in the wood before.

We, plus friends,  made a good start on clearing  and processing last winter's felled birch. Still much to do. Heavy work too, unlike a little light bracken bashing (see last post.......)