CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today CLICK HERE

Amazing autumn and fabulous fungi in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 08:33 15 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:57 20 February 2013

Autumn stream (Steve Waterhouse)

Autumn stream (Steve Waterhouse)

Catch the gorgeous colours of the turning leaves on a woodland walk this month and you might come across something a little unusual too

OCTOBER is a great month for spotting fungi, particularly if the weather is damp and warm. There are thousands of species in the UK. Some are too small for us even to see. Many have weird and wonderful shapes and habits. We are all familiar with the picture book toadstools with red caps and white spots but take a look at some of these more unusual specimens.


Hats off!
The miraculous Pilobolus crystallinus is only around 3mm high but manages to disperse its spores by building up pressure of around 80lbs per square inch (three times the pressure in a car tyre) before throwing its spore packet or hat as much as two metres in the air!


Eerie
Found on dead elder, the gelatinous outer surface of the ear fungus is a reddish-brown but the inner is grey and wrinkled. They look and feel like ears.


Cramp balls
King Alfreds Cakes are hard black lumps of fungus which grow on dead wood. Carrying the balls in your pocket was thought to safeguard against cramp.


Did you know?



  • Orchids cannot germinate without the help of fungi.

  • Mushrooms can release up to 2.7 billion spores a day.


Places to walk


Try your local nature reserve for a woodland walk and you could do a fungi hunt at the same time.


North Herts
Fox Covert and
Therfield Heath, Royston

Beech woodland is fantastic in the autumn for the displays of leaves turning from green to yellow, orange and gold.


Purwell Ninesprings, Hitchin
A wet woodland which makes an ideal habitat for fungi. You might also spot a water vole or a kingfisher.


Pryors Wood, Stevenage
A fantastic mixed woodland of oak, hornbeam, ash, hazel, field maple and wild cherry.


Mid Herts
Balls Wood, Hertford Heath
A mixed woodland of mature coppiced hornbeam adjacent to Hertford Heath. There are great crested newts, dragonflies and toads in the numerous ponds. The wood is also home to grass snakes and slow worms.


Fir and Pond Woods, Potters Bar
The best remaining part of ancient Enfield Chase, with wetlands, meadow and diverse woodland.


Gobions Wood, Potters Bar
A very varied woodland with wonderful examples of giant sequoia and elm. 558 species of fungi have been found here.


Danemead, Hoddesdon
One of only two outstanding places in the UK for oak hornbeam forest. The attractive Spital Brook runs through the reserve.



To find directions to your
local woodland reserve visit
www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk and click on Nature Reserves.

0 comments

More from Out & About

Friday, November 16, 2018

Christmas isn’t complete without a trip to a festive fair. From German-style food stalls to vintage fetes, Hertfordshire’s Christmas markets have it all

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We quiz author Kevin Exley about his new book that takes the reader on the trail of fascinating stories, new and old, around Berkhamsted

Read more
October 2018
Monday, October 29, 2018

Hertfordshire is a county with a vast, fascinating and sometimes dark and bloody history that has reportedly lead to more than a few angry ghosts sticking around to wreak havoc and take revenge on the living. We have gathered 10 of the most haunted places in the county

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Make the most out of autumn with these eight walking routes that take in a variety of Hertfordshire’s terrains and - most importantly – have a cosy pub along the way

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

We've selected a variety of spooky activities in the county that are sure to delight the kids

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s Charlotte Hussey explores the fascinating world of bats and new projects in the county to help conserve these remarkable creatures

Read more
October 2018
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species is asking the public to look out for mammals on Hertfordshire’s roads as part of a citizen science project

Read more
September 2018
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

From stately homes to skateparks, we have selected some of the best ideas for things to do in Hertfordshire

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The diverse parkland of Pishiobury Park in Sawbridgeworth is undergoing a five-year plan to promote its heritage and enhance its habitats. It makes for a royal day out

Read more
September 2018
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From Aldbury to Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire has a plethora of pretty villages. We have picked just 10 that you should visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search