There were 9 of us to investigate the mysteries of this rolling, old woodland in the north of the Forest that seems to have defied precise path-mapping. Oak, beech and silver birch predominate with a few sweet chestnut and conifers and an under layer of holly, bracken, bramble and short wild bilberry. The only other plants of note today were Black Nightshade, Honeysuckle, Wavy Bittercress and tiny Yellow Pimpernel. The autumn lack of flowers and cool, dull day curtailed butterfly sightings to a few Speckled Wood. Birds were scarce too with only Robin, Blackbird, Long-tailed and Great Tits seen, Chaffinch and Nuthatch heard.
It was overcast and gloomy as we entered the dense edge of Bramshaw
Inclosure from Nomansland Green and picked our way through to a more open narrow path behind the forest cottage. As we descended the side of a small valley, we spotted several ghostly green-white, False Deathcap (Amanita citrina) in the rough grass and bunches of Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare) on fallen logs. Other Amanita species were in fewer numbers (A. excelsa, fulva, muscaria).
|Orange Birch Bolete|
Our route took us along a wide ride then across the valley floor to the dry bed of a narrow stream and into Bramshaw Wood. Here we branched right then right again to start the trudge uphill that led eventually to Pipers Wait, the highest point in the Forest at a dizzying 430ft. On the way we came across several clumps of Shaggy Scalycap (Pholiota squarrosa) poised spectacularly way above our heads on Beech trees in neatly callused holes left by fallen branches. The glistening, white caps of Porcelain Fungus (Oudemansiella mucida) covered a fallen log and sizeable Southern Bracket (Ganoderma australe) and Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) were evident. On the way up we crossed a deep gully, sometimes hard to ford in winter after rain when the forest animals have churned up the steep, muddy banks on their way through.
|Fuzzy Polypore or Dyer's Mazegill|
Other fungi found were Honey Fungus (Armillaria mellea), Green Elfcup (Chlorociboria aeruginascens), Spectacular Rustgill (Gymnopilus junonius), Saffron Milkcap (Lactarius deliciosus), Orange Birch Bolete (Leccinum versipelle), Fuzzy Polypore or Dyer’s Mazegill (Phaeolus schweinitzii), several Russula spp. (R.aeruginea, claroflava, cyanoxantha, mairie) and Red Cracking Bolete (Xerocomellus chrysenteron).
At the top we bobbed out onto the edge of Black Bush Plain before retracing our steps a little way, passing a large, deep depression filled with Beech trees, before continuing downhill and branching left back to Nomansland. Thanks to Angela and Richard for the species list. MW/SP
Photos © Richard Coomber