A couple of weeks ago I hopped on my bike and cycled out to Roydon Common – this is a renowned wildlife hotspot that is just a short distance from where I live.
We’ve taken Rusty there a few times, but have always stuck to the same path: this time I headed off on a different route and ended up making quite an adventure out of it!
Having crossed a few fields, I emerged onto a sandy track and saw the following view…
At this point I was a bit confused as to where I had ended up and was slightly worried that I was on private land, especially when a land rover came around the corner. Luckily it was just a couple of dog walkers who kindly informed me that I wasn’t trespassing.
The scenery on the common was quite incredible: everything is covered with a carpet of heather and the land suddenly starts to undulate, creating lots of interesting features. There is also an old watch tower from the war still standing on the common – it was a little eerie in the mist, but definitely helped me keep my bearings as I explored.
I’ve already seen some pretty incredible wildlife whilst walking on Roydon Common, but one particularly fascinating feature is the abundance of fungi. Having photographed each of the different species that I saw, I decided to expand my knowledge and attempt to identify them.
I use the word ‘attempt’ here, because it turned out that it was easier said than done! If anyone sees any mistakes or can identify some of the ones with missing names, I would be really grateful if they would comment below…
The fly agaric mushroom is highly poisonous and is a hallucinogen. Its name arose as a result of a European tradition where the mushroom was mixed with milk and used to attract and kill flies.
The common stinkhorn has an incredibly distinctive scent (when I walking on the common I smelt this mushroom long before I spotted it). This attracts insects which then spread the spores of the fungi via their feet.
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