Fungi, fruit and haws

There is no denying that autumn is now upon us and Waldridge Fell has changed its coat again. The heather has gone over, the bracken and trees are turning orange, yellow and gold and the hot, dry conditions in June and July have resulted in an abundance of fruit, berries and haws this year which create splodges of crimson everywhere you look. As the winter migrant birds arrive they will certainly find plenty of food.

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) was plentiful on this week’s walk in the woods on the eastern edge of Waldridge Fell with a wide variety of shapes and configurations of this most recognisable of fungi. This species is commonly found in heath habitats and in birch woodland and can form a mycorrhizal association with birch. It is poisonous to humans and a powerful hallucinogen (Alice is given some to eat in Alice in Wonderland). However, they are – like many fungi – a popular food of slugs.

By Vivien kent