As the weather grows cooler and the air increasingly damp, fungi start to crop up in the open grassland and woodland areas. In the woods we might find various ‘Boletus’ and ‘Amanita’ species whilst the grassland might produce Blewits and Waxcaps. We’ll talk about the toxicity and edibility of these mushrooms and the best way to cook them fresh or preserve them to take us through the winter ahead.

Mixed flocks of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits pick their way through hedge and woodland edge accompanied by Britain’s smallest bird, the Goldcrest. Occasionally they are joined by Firecrest, an increasingly regular winter visitor and breeding resident, told apart from the Goldcrest by the presence of a bold white eye stripe. Cold weather may prompt Short Eared Owls to move from their upland breeding ground to visit the rougher areas of grassland on the hunt for rodent species. Grazed areas can attract wintering Cattle Egret and Little Egret and we’ll be exploring these to see what turns up.

Birds in general are gorging on mass crops of hedgerow berries and we’ll look at how these fruits can be just as useful to humans through the winter months in the form of food and medicine. Burdock roots in particular are coming in to their own at this time of year and are one of the few viable sources of good quality carbohydrate we have available in the British Isles. We’ll discuss the law around harvesting them and how best to put those roots to use.

Leaf-fall renders the tress bare and exposed and this will enable us to more easily see the pale pin-heads of Brown Hairstreak eggs dotted along Blackthorn stems. As the vegetation collapses in the grasslands the spent egg sacs of Wasp Spiders become more easily visible.

Useful information

All you need is a sturdy pair of boots and a spirit of adventure. 

The guided walk will start at 10:00am and last approximately 2 hours

Tickets cost £25 per person