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Funghi on Hamstead Heath

November 19, 2010

Last Saturday morning I ventured to London for a Funghi foraging course.

After an introduction to funghi, what they actually are and how they grow, we went on a forage, wicker baskets in hand, and getting interested looks by passers-by. It took us a while to find any mushrooms but once we found one, it seemed that they were everywhere! The forest floor at one point was littered with edible blewits and we had to watch where we were standing. We found about 20 species on the walk, but our guide, Andy Overall, said that in 15 years of recording Hamstead Heath he has found about 500 species!

After a warming cup of tea and lunch we learnt some mushroom identifying techniques and were shown some of the deadliest and most delicious species to be found. I left the course with muddy boots and a bag full of blewits. Very nice on toast with parsley and cream.

Incidentally, mushrooms weren’t the only interesting things we found on Hamstead Heath. We saw a flock of parakeets and lots of abandoned shoes (don’t want to think too much about the latter…)

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