by Clive Cobie

Sussex and Surrey Coppice group hosted a fungi day in Shadow woods. The members shared knowledge of their skills and inspirations, and as with any community of interest the day opened with many avenues to explore.

We started the walk by stepping into an area that had been a field during the First World War , by the second it was scrub ,brambles and gorse  which protected the trees that now dominate , although the area is in the midst of another change ; ash dieback . We talked about the small amount of fungi fruiting in this area and that even after so many years there still didn’t seem to be many, there were a few deceivers and trooping funnels a few in the dead wood , candle snuff , cramp ball .

Rooting Shank

Rooting Shank

We stopped next to Clive’s truck ,he takes it out to promote more understanding of the biodiversity of ancient woodland it is in essence a mobile display with a stage on the back, it has been to many schools and shows in the past year, along one side there was a display of various fungi, upon a table, but firstly was an example of a compost tea making set up ,the main aim it seems was to get as many small air bubbles into the water as possible, this aerates the water which has compost in, this example had a air pump with a one way valve and an air stone. It was explained that a teaspoon of good compost has approximately one billion beneficial bacteria ,after a day bubbling it would multiple to five billion so we were asked to imagine the amount of teaspoons in a shovel of compost, it was also noted that the appropriate size pump and air stones for size of water tank. The charcoal fines are then soaked in the compost tea. We were told that there is between 1000 and 2,500 square meters of surface area in a gram of charcoal, depending upon what wood is used, this unbelievable figure is reached through the micro pores within the wood. The aerobic bacteria settle in the micro pores and seeded charcoal can be used to benefit soil and plants and all that live within and on top .

We are going to use some in the hornbeam coup that’s to be cut, and record the regrowth between stools charged and others that are not, and a photographic record to use as an educational tool in the promotion of a better understanding of biodiversity.

Also along the side of the truck a big fruiting body of Ganoderma , we were told that scientists have recently discovered that the mycelium of this fungi was grown in balsa wood to a certain density heat treated and compressed, they discovered that it produced a small amount of electricity! Also Knowledge of experiments proven by Stametes to clean up polluted soil with oyster mushroom mycelium in wood chips the soils treated went from 20,000 ppm of oil based chemical to less than 200 ppm in less than nine weeks. 

There was an example of mycelium of the oyster running through coffee grinds through a powerful magnifying glass, showing the delicate fine structure. Many other fungi of different colours and sizes , the spore distribution was explained of the various types, with some explanation of some uses , past and present.

We proceeded towards the hornbeam valley ,upon arrival one is transported to a natural cathedral of boughs and stems, it was palpable the difference in life the leafy floor oozed ancient life, unlike the regenerated field woods this area is rich with carbon locked up in roots mycelium shredding life ,multiple casts from the busy work of the earth worms as they pull the leaves down creating more aeration through out the soils. We were told that the casts of the earth worms are beneficial as an addition to compost teas being as they are fifty per cent more charged with good bacteria than before the material passed through the worms system ,due to the community of bacteria that works symbiotically within the worms system.

Terracotta hedgehog

Terracotta hedgehog

As we wandered through the ancient copse we were reminded that what we were standing on was indeed one interconnected organism ,and that one cubic meter of top soils such as we were standing can have 25000 kilometres of 

mycorrhizal threads. We looked and found multiple fruiting bodies of this invisible world, and began to realise how little we understand about the ground upon which we tread, in one two metre square we found four different fungi fruiting from the ground and another three fruiting in wood laying on top.

All in all it was a great day for all involved some plans were made for expanding the educational side of woodland work , as it is generally understood by most that to proceed we need to become more understanding of the organisms that support all life and we all who work alongside those organisms are not only their custodians but teachers of the knowledge that through our diverse experience we can pass on to bring more light into people’s lives.

There seems to be more interest in promoting our skills to surrounding villages and towns to help integrate community and promote more understanding of the importance of reconnecting with nature.

The Haven 2nd Nov 2021 List of Fungi

Tricholoma terreum Grey Knight

Tricholoma lascivum Aromatic Knight

Armillaria mellea Honey Fungus

A day in shadow woods

A day in shadow woods

Armillaria lutea

Collybia butyracea Butter Cap

Clitocybe nebularis Clouded Funnel

Xerula radicata Rooting Shank

Laccaria laccata The Deceiver

Laccaria amethystina Amethyst Deceiver

Mycena galericulata Common Bonnet

Mycena vitilis Snapping Bonnet

Mycena pura Lilac Bonnet

Mycena galopus Milking Bonnet

Mycena spp. (probably about 3 other unidentified species from this genus)

Amanita citrina False Death Cap

Amanita rubescens The Blusher

Amanita phalloides Death Cap

Amanita pantherina Panther Cap

Pluteus cervinus Deer Shield

Russula ochroleuca Ochre Brittlegill

Russula nigricans Blackening Brittlegill

Lactarius sp. (unidentified Milk Cap)

Conocybe rickenii

Cortinarius anomalus

Cortinarius spp. (probably about 3 other unidentified species from this genus)

Inocybe flocculosa Fleecy Fibrecap

Hebeloma sp. (these species are difficult to identify)

Psathyrella piluliformis Common Stump Brittlestem

Craterellus cornucopioides  Horn of Plenty

Clavulina cinerea Grey Coral

Clavulina coralloides White Coral

Hydnum rufescens Terracotta Hedgehog

Lycoperdon perlatum Common Puffball

Stereum hirsutum Hairy Curtain Crust

Trametes versicolor Turkeytail

Xylaria hypoxylon Candlesnuff Fungus

Xylaria polymorpha Dean Man’s Fingers

Trichoderma strictipile

Helvella crispa White Saddle

Bisporella citrina Lemon Disco

Mucilago  crustacea (A slime mould, not a fungus)