Fungi

Amanita pantherina mushroom

The New Forest is a wonderful place to see fungi, which makes it a very special and nationally-important area.

In the autumn, when most of the macro fungi (the larger ones) can be seen in all their varying shapes, colours and sizes, it can be amazing to walk through the extensive woods or over the large grassland plains, to look and admire their fantastic display.

This is probably one of the best areas in Europe for the richness of species, as well as a stronghold for many rare and endangered species, and even some still being discovered that are new to science. All this in a comparatively small area, assessed as having of the highest importance for fungi achievable in this country, as well being a Special Site of Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The varied geology, topography and land use gives an ideal habitat for all fungi. There are acid sands and gravels preferred by some fungi, and also basic estuarine marine clays in the south which are necessary for calciferous ones. Large woods of deciduous and conifer trees, and especially pasture woodland composed of a mix of both, as well as closely grazed open grassland areas, mean that the sheer variety is spectacular.

So New Forest fungi can be found in the woodland, the grassland and the heathland. In the latter habitat, they tend to be rather small, brown and difficult to accurately identify, although when the heather is interspersed by gorse bushes, somewhat larger fungi may be seen growing on the branching gorse.   

All fungi are very important because they add to the biodiversity of the New Forest, and they are an essential part of the fragile ecosystem and 'web of life'. Besides being essential rotters and recyclers (we would otherwise be completely overwhelmed by leaf litter and fallen trees), they provide food for some animals and may be vital to many invertebrates to enable them to complete their life cycles. Also fungi are great to just admire and they are marvellously photogenic too.

Please look but don't pick

This autumn, the Forestry Commission is encouraging people to get out into the Forest to enjoy the signs of autumn, but please do not pick fungi, respecting the natural environment of the New Forest and leaving fungi for others to admire.

The New Forest National Park is internationally important for wildlife and is covered by local, national and international designations. The New Forest Crown lands, managed by the Forestry Commission make up about half of the area of the National Park and the majority of the New Forest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Commercial harvesting is not permitted and foray leaders must obtain a licence.

If you have any questions about how the 'no-picking' code is being implemented please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/newforestfungi

  1. Fungi (you are here)
  2. Pestle puffball
  3. Crimson waxcap
  4. Nail fungus
  5. Golden spindles
  6. Shaggy inkcap
  7. Stinkhorn
  8. False deathcap
  9. Fly agaric
  10. Chicken of the woods
  11. Wood blewit
  12. Bearded tooth
  13. Southern bracket
  14. Honey fungus
  15. Panthercap
  16. Dyers mazegill
  17. Devil’s fingers
  18. Deathcap
  19. Brown birch bolete
  20. Ochre brittlegill

Tools

New Forest Fungi

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