Enchanted by fungi kingdom

Fungal Frolics: Anne Somers of Lancaster and her son Craig, nine, look at a Judas Ear fungus growing on a log during the Fungi for Families and Autumn Art Day at Over Haddon.
Fungal Frolics: Anne Somers of Lancaster and her son Craig, nine, look at a Judas Ear fungus growing on a log during the Fungi for Families and Autumn Art Day at Over Haddon.

About 100 people turned up to Lathkill Dale nature reserve on Saturday to snuffle among the autumn leaves for the last of the season’s fungi.

Organised by Natural England, the day encouraged adults and children to identify fungi and try their hand at autumn-themed art.

There are some 20,000 species of fungi in the UK and a good number were found during a one-hour guided walk.

“We saw a wide range of different species and sizes,” said Natural England officer Paul Maddox.

“There’s an amazing range of different fungi around in Britain. Most are really tiny things you can only see with a microscope.”

Volunteers and staff from the organisation were on hand to help families find and identify toadstools, mushrooms and bracket fungi, and to create art inspired by changing woodland colours.

Mr Maddox said it had been about the last chance to see this season’s fungi and woodland colours.

“Once the frosts come they really just disintegrate,” he said.

Natural England is the government’s independent advisor on the environment, and aims to raise people’s enjoyment and understanding of nature.