There are around 15,000 species of fungi in the UK. Mycologist Andy Knott is providing expert insights that are adding to our understanding of which species are present at Bere Marsh Farm in Dorset. Here he reports about two fungi forays he led on the farm this autumn, joined by members of the local community.

Early autumn is my favourite time of the year. The change in season triggers all manner of Mother Nature’s mechanisms. Leaves beginning to turn and cooler temperatures are signals that mushroom peak season is underway. 

Places like Bere Marsh Farm are so important because the holistic approach to regenerative farming ensures there are lots of little pockets of nature for fungi to thrive in a variety of habitats.

The first of two guided fungi foray walks this autumn was held on 24th September. We would have usually expected to see a lot more variety at this time of year, but the unseasonably warm and dry weather meant that some species had yet to fruit. Although conditions were sub-optimal for fungi, our morning walk produced some nationally scarce mushrooms including Artomyces pyxidatus, Agaricus bohusii, Rhodotus palmatus and the stunning Ganoderma lucidum pictured.

On 15th October we welcomed an enthusiastic group from Dorset Goes Wild Facebook Group. By then, temperatures had dipped a little and there was a much wider variety of fungi fruiting. In particular, numerous species of AmanitaEntolomaInocybe and Mycena put on a good showing for us.

Across two visits, we identified an impressive 76 mushroom species without covering too great an area. I’m confident if we made subsequent visits throughout the year, we’d find many more species.

Suffice to say, wildlife and fungi are doing great at Bere Marsh Farm and I am looking forward to future fungi walks here, introducing people to the marvellous world of mushrooms and hopefully finding some more new discoveries along the way.

PUBLISHED: 14th November 2023
TOP: Mycologist Andy Knott  © Nick Dobbs. TOP RIGHT: The Fungi Foray on 24th September © Nick Dobbs. MIDDLE LEFT: Ganoderma lucidum © Andy Knott. ABOVE LEFT: Members of Dorset Goes Wild during the Fungi Foray on 15th October © Nick Dobbs. ABOVE RIGHT: Andy Knott lays out some of the finds from the Fungi Foray on 15th October © Nick Dobbs.

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