Happily for me, Richard Smith had offered to accompany me on the walk. In so doing, he represented the "wisdom of a full Lymnats contingent" (thankyou Geoff for that observation) and acted as photographer. So thankyou Richard.
Soon after starting, the path crossed a grassy avenue of lime trees believed to be known as "The Gallops" and used to train race horses in the fifties. Through a gate we joined an undulating and meandering track through relatively open mixed woodland, the watery sun shining magically through the yellowy beech and bracken leaves. Turning onto a side path almost tunnel like in parts Richard pointed out grooved marks on the bark of some trees, possibly from a bit of antler sharpening or teeth marks. Sika deer have been seen in the past but not this time. It seemed we were at the start of a custom made fungi trail starting with amongst others a Hedgehog Fungi Hydnum repandum
and a False Chanterelle Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca. Richard got busy photogaphing many of them for later and much appreciated identification. I have been able to include the results of his efforts in this report. Stopped to gather a few sweet chestnuts. Then through an area of birch and birch stumps to find a Turkeytail Trametes versicolor with some kind of slimy looking but quite solid fungus and a wonderful display on a stump including some Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare to name but two.
|Turkey Tail |
Next, a change of trees as we passed into a mainly lodgepole plantation where we crossed a rough woodland roadway. Here we came across a Bay Bolete Imleria badia, a Razor Strop Piptopurus betulinus a Bloody Brittegill Russula sanguinara and coming out overlooking an open valley, a Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria.
Perhaps the fungi was compensation for the occasional fleeting glimpse of a bird. We descended into the valley which was populated with a few stunted birches, and stopped by an artificial pond which was disappointingly quiet, and then gently climbed up to the far side. We returned along the path along the top of the valley, which at times was almost carpet like to walk on when going through another very quiet plantation and eventually joined an initially shady bridlepath. A ten minute detour took us to the bridge over the Lymington River which was in full flow but not fast enough to stop a pony forcing it's splashy way across. Impressive none the less. Finally, near the end, a pair of Pied Wagtails in a field.
Footnote : Despite John's kind words of introduction, we both agreed missing the "wisdom of crowds" that we enjoy so much in more normal times. I welcome any corrections to my very amateur identifications using Roger Philips fieldguide, iNaturalist and first-nature.com. RS