Author: Mark Brandon


To quote Keats, now that the ‘season of mist and mellow fruitfulness’ is upon us, it is a great time to see mushrooms and toadstools in our colourful autumnal countryside. The Lodge nature reserve, just over the Cambridgeshire border, is a great hunting ground for fungi. Over 600 different species have been recorded there!


The stunning fly agaric, often depicted in illustrations for fairy stories, is one of the most spectacular. It grows especially well under birch trees, and is easily seen between September and November each year.


Imagine the pictures you looked at as a child, of pixies and fairies sitting on perfect domed shaped toadstools and you’ll have an idea of just how they look. They are at the designer end of the fungi world with a pillar- box red cap covered in white spots and with a pure white stem and they stand proud from the ground.



Photo Credit: Michael Lawrence


Walking around The Lodge, it’s possible to find large groups of them, some the size of dinner plates.


We suggest you enjoy the sights and smells of our autumn fungi at a safe distance. 'Toadstool' might make you think toadstools are places where amphibians rest! In fact, 'toad-stuhl' comes from medieval Saxon, and means ‘death bud’.


Some of the names of the reserve’s other fungi also have very dark connotations; deadly fibrecap, Devil’s fingers, veiled poison pie, false death cap, ghost bolete, slimy waxcap, skullcap and stinking dapperlings - just right for dark nights and Halloween!


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