It was a damp afternoon, with occasional showers – perfect weather for fungi! – when MGAP project officer Al went with project volunteers and Glamorgan Fungus Group members Emma and Annie to Draethen Woods to do a recce for the ‘Walk with Mary’ coming up on Sunday 6 November. Mary visited these woods many times with her colleague (and the real fungi expert) Dr Roy Perry and has a good list of fungi from these here.
It’s been a dry autumn in South Wales so we weren’t sure how much fungi we would find but, turns out, fungi are plentiful and fruiting well under the leafy boughs of this beautiful woodland.
Amongst Mary’s archives we had found her description of the area:
This reserve consists of two small woodland plots, one on either side of a metalled Forestry Commission road … The underlying rock is Dolomite or Magnesium Limestone of Carboniferous age and contains galena or lead ore in workable amounts, together with barytes, iron pyrites and other minerals which can be picked on the paths. Old lead workings date back to Roman times …
From the lower car park we strolled along the metalled road Mary described, venturing left and right amongst the tall beech trees, noticing the indentations of old mine scrapings, eyes peeled for fungi, and we were not disappointed. From the more obvious mushroom shapes of the sturdy Agaricus species and the delicate bonnets of Mycena to the less easy to spot black blobs of Dead Moll’s Fingers, the common fungi species were what we’d expected to see and were relatively easy to find.
We were delighted to also find some unexpected treasures: a whole log covered in the surprising turquoise-coloured Green elf caps, sprinklings of the charmingly named Jellybabies, a wealth of Earthfans carpeting a large area and stinkhorns, the fungi with the smelliest reputation, though these were Dog stinkhorns (Mutinus caninus) so not as stinky as the dreaded larger variety of stinkhorn, Phallus inpudicus.
All up our short foray resulted in a list of 56 species of fungi. With cooling temperatures over the next couple of weeks and the likelihood of some autumnal rain, as well as many more eyes doing the fungi-spotting on the day, we predict our species list for the ‘Walking in the footsteps of Mary’ on Sunday 6 November to top the one hundred mark! Why not come along and join the fungi fun.
We’ll be meeting from 10 onwards at the Llwyn Hir Picnic Area And Car Park (ST20578663, Google pin drop: https://goo.gl/maps/Qhh3XndTkew) to commence walking at 10:30am. The woodland has broad, flat (although stony in parts) rides and is consequently quite accessible and we shall be on-site for around 2 hours (or longer if there is a lot to be found!).
Non-specialists are welcome and we hope to gather a list of fungi and all other species that we see during the walk. We hope to see you on the 6th!