I LOVE autumn. I know its a little odd to enjoy the damp fusty smell and the cold breeze blowing away the cobwebs, but its what refreshers me and theres always the fire burning at home to get me warm! Another great reason to get out at this time of the year is the magical display of fungi on show in places you least expect them.
Here at Sandscale our sand dunes are full of them and they don't just come in white or brown. We have some beautiful blackening waxcaps that are bright orange, brick red russulas and we even have decievers that are bright purple. Nor are they just round - we have earth tongues that are cylindrical and earth stars that start off looking like an onion then layer out, spreading into a star shape.
The site is open access, so wander at will. A good little place to start looking for some of them is just beyond the blowout into the dunes. From the car park, take the boardwalk to the beach and turn left. Walk down the beach until you reach a fence. Walk through the gap in the fence and carry on straight ahead. You will come to a flat area of creeping willow in front of you - between the breaks in the creeping willow a diverse range of fungi can be found.
Please remember mushrooms can be poisonous with some even causing death so if in doubt, don’t touch it. Remember to wash your hands after touching mushrooms.
A good field guide is Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools or Roger Phillips' book, Mushrooms.
Please keep your dog on a lead whilst on the nature reserve.
Having looked across the Duddon Estuary to the lakeland fells for 3 years it was time to jump across and start working for the West Lakes team. It has been a big leap from a sand dune system but I'm getting stuck into the more practical side of "Rangering" and sharing my love of the ecological side of things with my new team. Hopefully I'll see you at our 50 things events here in Wasdale!?