FUNGAL FEEDBACK
 
Reports and feedback
 

1st December 2021 - More feedback from a follower who seems to like what I do - cheers Tony.

Thanks very much for the recent foray that you and your partner led at Coombes Valley nr Leek. I think it is the fourth foray that my partner and I have been on with you - as always it was both entertaining and informative - your knowledge is encyclopedic, and your enthusiasm is infectious.

I hope to join you again - next year?

 

25th May 2021 - Following a recent Nosey Nature Pootle a kind lady wrote these encouraging words:-

I walk in Woolston park daily with my dog and from now on I will see these areas with a different view.  In the past I’ve walked along and seen various birds and looked at trees thinking how beautiful they are and how lucky I am to be able to see these lovely views so close to home. Now I can see other wildlife along the same paths.  Thank you so much for making it possible.  I’m sure I speak for the other people too.

 

27th September 2020 - More lovely words from a lady who attended a walk at Arley Hall.

I  attended the afternoon Mushroom Walk yesterday with a friend and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to the chap who ran it.

I am embarrassed to say, we never got his name, but he was absolutely brilliant. His enthusiasm was infectious and his knowledge, incredible.
I had no idea there were so many mushrooms in the world, let alone that they were so vitally important to the ecosystem. He really did open our eyes in so many ways and in such an interesting and good humoured way. 

 

23rd September 2020 - A few kind words from the attendees of a walk in Warrington as sent to event organiser Mary Breeze:-

Really enjoyed the walk Mary, so informative and relaxed. It kept my interest for the whole time I was there and took my mind off everything else going on. Hope to get on your other walks and look forward to any news.

Thanks Mary. I had a really fun time! I have followed Fungal Punk Dave on twitter and will join the closed Facebook group.

Thanks for arranging the fungi walk yesterday and thanks to Dave and his wife for leading it so passionately. I really enjoyed it and found it very informative. I've already been out looking under bushes on my daily dog walk.

Thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt a lot, thank you all.

 

17th November 2014 - Flintshire Leader Article

The article below is from the Flintshire Leader and was sent my way by two observant members from that neck of the woods. It all helps the cause (I hope).

1

Thanks to the author Rhian Waller for her efforts.

 

14th November 2014 - Chadkirk Chapel Review

And here is a review from the recent Fungal Friends meet-up at Chadkirk Chapel - sincere thanks to Michael Pettipher once again - it all helps. Click here to read the lowdown.

 

9th November 2014 - Review

A short and sweet write-up of the day at Meer Sands Wood this year by Linda Jones:-

Fungal Foray at Mere Sands Wood. 11 October 2014

It was a lovely autumn day after a few weeks of dry weather. A group of people of very mixed ages and previous experience of fungi gathered at this Wildlife Trusts reserve in west Lancashire, to look for and learn about fungi with Fungalpunk Dave.

We started with a brief introduction to the life-cycles and biology of fungi, and a look at a few species close at hand to illustrate the variety of forms they might take. Then we set off around the wood to see what we could find.

There were lots of common species such as Turkey Tail, Coral Spot and Hairy Stereum – all very familiar to the old hands – but still described with patience and enthusiasm to the newcomers.

There were species with unusual shapes or habits – like the Earth Potatoes and Puffballs, or the downright notorious Stinkhorn.

There were little tiny things – the smuts, rusts and woodwarts, and big bulky boletes and brackets.

Lots of different colours, dull browns, pure white, bright yellow and scarlet, and some distinctive smells.

Find of the day had to be Entomophthora muscae – spotted by Dave’s daughter, Katie. It’s a delightful little organism that infects flies via their air tubes, migrates to their brain, changes their behaviour so that they climb up trees, before killing them and producing fruiting bodies between their body plates. All so its spores are released high up and catch the wind. Lovely!

Dave was a bit unhappy with the fungal season so far as the dry weather had not brought out so many fruiting bodies as might have been, and he’s always keen make these events as interesting as possible for those attending. But with around seventy species identified on the day and more taken home for microscopy the final total came to 85. Certainly no complaints from me.

Cheers to Linda for her kind efforts.

 

23rd October 2014 - Review

Here is a review of the recent foray to Etherow CP done by Michael Pettipher - click here please.

 

1st October 2014 - Feedback

Here is a little bit of feedback from a recent event:-

'The guided walk was excellent and I would wholeheartedly recommend David and his talk to anyone. Your right he is very knowledgeable but his knowledge is brought to life and made fascinating with his enthusiasm and love of the subject. A great morning walk which has inspired us to look more closely and appreciate the things we see on our walks in the countryside'.

* * *

'Thank you so much for organising the Mushroom Foray last Sunday, it  was a most enjoyable and informative day and Fungal Punk Dave certainly lived up to his formidable reputation by managing to show us some fifty-odd species, despite this having been the driest September in living memory. I was on both the morning and afternoon walks and it was quite obvious that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves (including the charming Lady of the House!) and I suspect, and hope, several people caught the fungi "bug" Once again, many thanks Helen and to FP Dave for a brilliant day'.

Very nice to hear.

 

22nd September 2014 - The season tests the temperament

So far the 4 walks led have been done in dry conditions with each walk offering less and less fungal fruit? It has been a trial and looking at the forecast no dramatic downpours are coming anytime soon. In spite of a real bad turn ouit of Fungi at Formby the following feedback keeps me determined to keep the head down and keep mooching -   'In spite of the absence of fungi, you made it just the very best for all those involved.    Thank you so much'. I do try!

 

12th December 2013 - Clip

Found this in the local paper - thanks to Nicky for her kind words

 

MERE SANDS WOOD 12 OCTOBER 2013

'On a bright Saturday afternoon a collection of fungus-hunters set off to explore this Wildlife Trust reserve in West Lancashire, led by Dave H-T and his very able (and much more glamorous) assistant Gill. Some were old friends and some newcomers but all warmly welcomed especially the children. 

Dave started off with an introduction to the weird and wonderful world of fungi for those new to the subject, illustrated by several species found in one spot on the edge of the car park.

Then we set off on a walk round the wood, hunting for as many species as possible to marvel at, identify and record. Although the man himself was not happy with how dry the season had been and how ‘poor’ the specimens were, his enthusiasm for his subject was undimmed, and as infectious as ever, and his seemingly endless collection of colourful tales about mushrooms certainly made up for any shortcomings in the fungi themselves! Having said that we found over seventy species between us – greatly assisted by the presence of young people with young eyes. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the day – even if I did feel a bit inadequate when Dave looked at me saying ‘You know this one’ as I was thinking ‘no I don’t‘. Sorry, Dave.

An exploration of the natural world in the company of like-minded people, with an inspirational leader. If ever you get the chance to join one of these walks – grab it!'

 

11th October 2013 - Feedback

From the avalanche of feedback I am always grateful of here is a little piece written by a lady after I did a walk for the Carers Service at Signpost Stockport.

'A very enjoyable course, good company, enjoyed the walk through Etherow Country Park Woodland.

Dave, the trainer, is very knowledgeable about fungi and he imparts this knowledge with a passion that cannot help but make the subject of fungi utterly compelling and interesting.

The course has a good practical approach, the fungi discussed are those that are found and the group members were often foraging in woodland debris during the walk, encouraged by Dave’s enthusiasm to participate in searching for fungi.

Dave highlighted areas to search that before this walk I would have passed by and not noticed (in fact many) of the various types of fungi that were there.

The highlight for me was towards the end of the afternoon when we found an ‘Earthstar’.  I have never seen anything like this type of fungi before – absolutely fascinating.

Thank you for an enjoyable day!

Thank you indeedy kind lady and hopefully you can enjoy those special fungal growths on every walk you take and hopefully see you again on another jaunt very soon.

 

20th September 2013 - Tatton Review

An excellent review of Tatton Park has been written by Ian Craven and can be found...here! Nice one mate!

 

4th October 2011 - A Tale from Coombes

The following tale was taken from the RSPB site regarding a walk there recently. It was penned by Fiona M:-

'Yesterday saw the return of the legend that is Fungalpunk Dave and his hard working wife. Dave is a master at fungal identification and a very entertaining tour guide to boot! The event was very well attended, thank you to everyone that came along, and hopefully you all enjoyed it as much as we did. 80 species of fungi were found in total, including the fire-milk (Lactarius pyrogalus) which only grows near Hazel, and it's milk has a spicy hot taste, as our willing volunteers found out. We were all advised not to eat any of the fungi as the colour variations and appearance at different stages can be very deceptive, making it hard to determine exactly what you are eating. Dave advised to buy your mushrooms from a shop and not risk it. The popular red and white Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) was also spotted. The amantia fungi grow in bags underground and burst out leaving the little white bits on the cap that you can see. Fly Agaric was traditionally used to kill flies, it was broken up with milk or sprinkled with sugar. It is still used for this purpose in parts of Europe today. Another easily identifiable one found on the day was the Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus), which as the name suggests can be smelt from some distance away. It's mysterious appearance led to it being thought of as witches eggs or devil's eggs in the past. Turkeytail (Trametes versicolor) is a common one in woodlands and looks a bit like the shape of a turkey's tail! Many Birch Polypores (Piptoporus betulinus) were seen around the reserve, I think they resemble cappucino's with their white underneaths and cocoa sprinkled tops. They are also known as Razor Strop Fungus, as when dried they were traditionally used to sharpen razor's. The aptly named Dead Man's Fingers fungi (Xylaria polymorpha) was found on a log pile near the pond, the name is quite obvious when you see it as it looks like a black finger. Another unusual name was a type of slime mould (Myxomycota), called Dog's Vomit that was found on the grass near our willow weevil sculpture. Slime mould is not thought to be a fungus at all, but a protista and is said to take on an almost animal like form and move around! However, I think the best name of the day had to go to the unusually named puffball, the Wolf-Fart (Lycoperdon pyriforme). If you have ever accidentally trodden on a puffball you will understand where the name may have come from!

For the full species list found on the fungal hunt yesterday please got to Dave's excellent website: www.fungalpunknature.co.uk/CFG/Sightings11.html . I have included a few photos from the day beneath, but nothing quite captures the smells, sounds and textures as well as actually getting out on the reserve yourself and discovering nature first hand. It's not too late to get out and see these amazing organisms for yourself, as we found yesterday there is still plenty to see'.

For a few picccies click here to have a peek.

 

24th March 2011 - Feedback/Review

Found this on a review website regarding a foray at Rostherne House last year:-

'I live in North Manchester and was looking for a day out in Cheshire. I came across Rostherne House on the web and discovered that they organise a variety of activities of the 'soothing the soul' variety. My choice was a 'fungal foray' and turned up to find a group of like minded people, welcomed by Katie and led by 'Fungalpunk Dave' a real character with an in depth knowledge of mushrooms amongst other things.

So off we went and had found over 10 different varieties before we left the grounds of the hotel. We ended up in Tatton Park (just down the road). We ended up discovering over 50 different types of mushrooms and with eyes opened a bit more regarding the lovely Cheshire countryside.

We returned to a cup of tea and some cake and an hour or so of discussing our finds and eventually left with a 'well I really enjoyed that' kind of feeling and I understand Katie organises other events as well. So I will be looking to visit again. What a wonderful day'.

 

15th January 2011 - Bolton Field Naturalists Society

After doing a lecture for the fine folk of this struggling society the following feedback was given via their admirable newsletter.

'I have to admit that, knowing very little about fungi, I did wonder what I was letting myself in for on my way to October's meeting. I need not have worried; Dave Higginson-Tranter was such an enthusiast about his subject that you could not help but enjoy it. Did you know, for instance, that if there were no fungi a multiude of life could not exist? For below ground fungi feed off the dying and give to the living. The fungi we see above ground are just the fruit of these amazing structures.

For those of you with internet access I highly recommend his website - www.fungalpunknature.co.uk. Click on wildlife (or punk rock if you prefer). Not only does he illustrate and explain fungi, he also looks at other topics such as butterflies, insects and wildflowers.

Dave put a lot of hard work into his lecture and I am sure that everyone who attended learnt a great deal. His illustrations were superb and after the lecture many people took advantage of seeing an array of specimens first hand. Well done, Dave'

Linda Almond

 

2nd November 2010 - Feedback from the CAN fungal foray at Etherow. Personally I would have liked more species on show but we did OK anyway. These messages were sent to CAN organiser Rachel Hacking.

'Yesterday's CAN event was another stormer, I thought.  I learned more about fungi in 6  hours,  then I have in my whole life' - Robert O Connor

'I was very impressed with Fungalpunk Dave's expertise which made it very interesting despite most species having died off in the frosts.  Excited to see the earthstars - a first for me' - Ralph Atherton

'Just a very short note to say thank-you, for a great day out, from Joan and I' - Selwyn Forster

 

14 October 2010 - Feedback again.

Dear Dave
On behalf of Marshall's Arm NR I'd like to send you our grateful thanks for your dogged determination to provide a fascinating, inspirational and informative fungal foray - despite the terrible weather on Oct 3rd.
The info and enthusiasm you provided on the day was passed on to the school children who also enjoyed the delightful fungi that is just on the doorstep.
Many thanks
- Pam Lamb

 

30 September 2010 - More feedback regarding the forays - and to think I didn't even have to pay these people.

' It was WONDERFUL, and an absolutely brilliant leader, good company and a lovely day' - Pat Lockwood

'Thank you for all the arrangements. Super day totally different. Thanks to
the fellow and his wife
' - Elizabeth

'How could anyone not be enthusiastic, when the Leader is creme de la creme' - Pat Lockwood

 

24 October 2009 - Here's a review written for rECOrd after I had led a walk for them. A sincere thank you to Helen for listening sop attentively and taking time to review the day.

Fungalpunk Foray’
Saturday 17th October 2009

The colourful flier for this event encouraged me (and many others) to sign up for another free event this time held in a different part of the beautiful Cheshire countryside. “Meet the legendary Fungalpunk Dave and find out about these curious and ecologically important organisms, including which you should definitely avoid for breakfast!” To a complete novice, the names of the fungi fascinated me: Puffballs, stinkhorns, truffles, black diamonds, oysters – I wondered which we would see!

The minibus left the Zoo at 9.15am and met up with those using their own transport in the car park of the Nunsmere Hall Hotel, Oakmere. CountMeIn staff welcomed us and shared a number of book identification guides and magnifying glasses between us. We were introduced to Fungalpunk Dave and about 40 of us (all ages from 7 upwards) followed him immediately into the extensive grounds of the hotel. It wasn’t long before we came across our first fungi. Dave explained that the main body of a fungus consists of a dense network of mycelium which lies buried underground or in a tree trunk and what you see is just the fruit which is there to help develop the species. To help identify them it is essential to know the type of habitat where you find them – it could be mixed woodland, a specific tree species, glades, grassland, rough unimproved ground, bonfire or hedge. Sometimes, a species cannot be identified in the field, but samples of the spores, which cannot be seen with the naked eye, have to be taken back and studied under a microscope.

Dave warned us not to eat raw wild fungi and never to pick fungi from the side of a road because they pick up the chemicals in the polluted air very easily. He gave us many useful tips even if we thought we had picked “edible”mushrooms. In fact, if in doubt always ask an expert or throw it away! Check each specimen! Don’t eat a lot at one sitting! Cook any you know to be edible properly!!

Within a few metres of the car park he was identifying our first species on a grassy bank. We then moved on into the woodland and discovered many more, some of which we collected in containers for future reference. He showed us a fungus growing from cracks on the bark of a silver birch, which was a parasite and would in time kill that tree, as well as other birches in the vicinity if the tree was not felled and removed. From there, we found a ganoderma 'artists' fungus which grows as a parasite on beech trees, dropping 200,00 spores throughout the day and night!

As we came across each fungi he showed us the main identifiable features such as colour, shape, texture, location, change of colour if pressed, or gives out a milky fluid, or even has a peppery smell – we found them all. We even found honey fungus which glows in the dark and sparks if you hit it with an axe and spreads by black cords resembling shoe laces.

The common names were fascinating and many you could understand the reason for the wonderful names. The experts need the Latin names but I enjoyed names such as: turkey tail, devil’s snuff ball, ugly milk cap, foxy spot, brittle gills, bracket fungus (including blushing braket), candlesnuff fungus and sulphur tuft.

As we walked around the different habitats, we found yet more fungi where there was extra moisture, so near the lake the woodland was teeming with different varieties, some now past their best and less easily identifiable.

By lunch time it was good to see that the hotel building had emerged in front of us, where we were welcomed with a hot cup of tea or coffee to have with our sandwiches as we sat on the terrace. Soon we felt revitalised and off we went again with Dave to explore further afield in the grounds. By 3.30pm we had (or rather he had) identified nearly 50 species and our heads were full of valuable information and triggers to help us identify what we find in the future.

As we gathered together at the end of a terrific day, Dave handed out leaflets, giving us valuable reminders about how to avoid mushroom poisoning, and many tips about using fungi for food. It was a gentle reminder to us, that we were not yet all experts like him!

Thank you everyone – my eyes are open and on the way home, even out of the window, I saw a fungi on a tree on the A54 which I hadn’t noticed in the past. Proof of the value of the day!

Helen Holyoak

 

10 November 2008 - Just been made aware of some comments on Trip Advisor regarding the recent 3 day mushroom weekend at Nunsmere Hall - these are as below and thanks to the providers of these much appreciated remarks. It does indeed make it all worthwhile.

MAGICAL MUSHROOMS

"I've just got back from a fabulous weekend fungi foray at the Nunsmere Hall Hotel. As a beginners guide to the huge variety of fungi that can be found if you know where to look, it was superb. From the moment we arrived to the moment we (reluctantly) left, my friend and I had a fantastic time.

The standards of care and attention to detail were excellent. The hotel staff were without exception friendly and helpful, the food was fantastic, the rooms comfortable and the actual fungi experience was perfectly pitched, enough information to be interesting, but not too academically oriented. The inimitable Fungalpunk Dave and his very knowledgeable wife Gill and daughter Katie provided us with a real experience.

I would heartily recommend this weekend event to anyone who wants to have a wander round some lovely grounds, be entertained and educated and eat wonderful food in beautiful surroundings with some very good company!
"

Laprinceshazzy (2 Nov 08)

MUSHROOM HUNTING A MUST

Just wanted to share our fantastic weekend at Nunsmere Hall mushroom hunting last weekend.

We initially were attracted to the hotel from the pictures on the website as it looked like the ideal venue for a romantic getaway for the weekend but when we discovered that there was a mushroom hunting package available we jumped at the chance and I can say it was one of the best experiences we've had in a long time!

-Firstly the hotel is as beautiful as the pictures suggest, long winding drive, scenic grounds to walk in, well appointed rooms and huge comfortable beds.
-The staff are fantastic, attentive and friendly, nothing seems to be too much trouble and you feel well cared for.

The food is superb and being a chef always researching I should know!
I just wanted to thank everyone involved from the staff to the other guests on our hunt especially Mark the general manager and his family for making the weekend such a great experience and our mushroom guide Fungalpunk Dave and his family for giving me a new love of fungus!

If you get the chance to visit the area I strongly recommend a stay at Nunsmere - expensive but worth every penny!!!

Cate A (7 Nov 08)