Sunday, 28 October 2012

Fungus Foray in the Quantocks

The quest for the elusive Amanita Muscaria continues. I know they are found on the Quantocks in Somerset so off to them we went.

Parking the car by the Blue Boar in Triscombe, we donned the wet weather gear and braved the rain to head up on to the hills. Despite  the rain it was a pleasant start to the walk. Not too cold and with no wind the rain was falling gently straight down for a change.

We had just turned off the lane on to the common land when we disturbed a few of the local  residents. They are very well camouflaged against the hill side - can you see the stag and his harem?

No fungi so far so we carried up the hillside to the old drovers track along the ridge. This is a very old track indeed - a 13th CE document calls it Alferode which conjures up visions of King Alfred riding along here ( before of after he famously burnt the cakes?).

The track meanders along the ridge with spectacular views  in all directions and at last I spotted a fungus...

and soon afterwards some more. These were fascinating, emerging from a rift in the trunk like a series of rungs on a ladder. Definitely one I will need to look up later.

Alferode was getting busier, we must be getting near the car park at the top. The track itself is now quite sunken and edged with a raised bank on which many old beeches were growing. The view down these reminiscent of the bones of a rib cage with the way the trunks split and curve inwards.

At last the Triscombe Stone  - quite small this one. Only some 2 ft or so high this is believed to date from the Bronze age and to be a marker stone on the old pathway.  Unfortunately a modern car park now adjoins it - I guess the modern version of a travellers' meeting place?

This was almost the final objective. All that remained was to climb to the highest point in the Quantocks and admire the view from Will's Neck. And a very nice view too if  rather impeded by the rain clouds. The coast was just about visible through the murk but even with binoculars the Severn Bridges were too shrouded to be seen. The back dots in the sky are ravens.

The route down was much quicker - straight down in fact. Very very steep in places and not helped in the woodland by a layer of slippery leaves on top of a layer of mud. Gave real meaning to the term "treehugger"! Still I only managed to sit down once.

As for finding Amanita? No luck at all. The search continues. 

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