Fungi of Whitcliffe Common
Autumn on Whitcliffe is a beautiful time. Golden colours, stunning light but above all its fungi. The array of habitats and mix of trees mean a diversity of toadstools.
Fungi and trees have evolved together for millions of years and have become mutually dependant. The red and white-spotted fly agaric associates with birch and is a frequent sight at the top of the Common.
In the meadow around the toposcope look out for colourful little jewels that are waxcaps. These thrive in old grassland not poisoned with fertilizers and pesticides.
The fungal stars of Whitcliffe are its ancient trees – oaks, beeches and sweet chestnuts. These have been hollowed out by the action of fungi. Far from making the trees dangerous, it helps them to survive by reducing the forces from high winds. Hollow trunks and branches become homes for wildlife such as owls and even pine martens.
So the next time you take a walk on Whitciffe and spot a mushroom sprouting out of the ground or on a tree, just remember that without fungi there wouldn’t be the wealth of wildlife and the Common would look very different indeed.
Shropshire Wildlife Trust