Bit wet last night!

I was aware of it raining a bit overnight, but nothing at home or on the journey into work this morning struck me as indicative of significant rainfall – there was no water across the junction of Ellingham Drove with the A338 and both the Centre and the main car park were all but dry. I was therefore rather surprised to hear the crash and surge of water as I approached the alder carr from Ivy North Hide on my way to open up Woodland Hide and then to see the Dockens Water flooding into the carr.

It was equally noisy on the approach to Ivy South Hide where some of the spate water floods on from Ivy Silt Pond into Ivy Lake over the small bridged spillway there:


It was fairly wet under the boardwalk through the willow carr too:


With all that water pouring into Ivy Lake Bob and the volunteers will be glad to have got done what they have managed to get done in the reedbed south west of Ivy North Hide as the deluge of water will, I suspect, have put paid to anymore work being done in there this year.

I’ve been off site at Testwood Lakes preparing for a big education programme taking place there over the next 4 weeks that I am involved in leading, so missed the osprey fishing in Ivy Silt Pond that was reported on Wednesday. Thanks to Phil West for this photograph of an(other?) osprey flying over Ibsley Water last week:


Last nights rain coupled with some warm weather is likely to see more autumn fungi emerging to spread their spores. Always popular with photographers on the reserve, Blashford Lakes has a reasonably diverse, if not overly abundant in individual fruiting bodies, fungi which do add to the overall enjoyment of any walk around the site.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has always generally discouraged “foraging” for mushrooms on its nature reserves, as being incompatible with the Trusts conservation objectives. As someone who does enjoy finding edible fungi and supplementing a meal with them, as an Officer of the Trust I was always very sympathetic towards others collecting a small number of fungi for their own culinary pleasure. However recent years have seen a “trend” in foraging and many of these foragers it has to be said do not forage so much as rape a woodland of its edible fungi – whereas I might have found a carpet of chanterelle and taken a few unfortunately others will take them all. Sadly we have experienced this at Blashford most years with our (relatively few) parasol mushrooms in particular. On more than one occasion I’ve set out around the reserve and enjoyed the sight of maybe a dozen or so parasol mushrooms along a stretch of path and returned a little later to find that all have gone. So called “foraging” in this way is not sympathetic to our natural heritage and can not possibly be sustainable. In the New Forest in particular this situation has been significantly worsened by the commercial “harvesting” of fungus by gangs for retail to the restaurant trade.

It was therefore not too much of a surprise to hear that the Forestry Commission this year had decided to take a more proactive stance on this issue and it is appealing to all visitors that they refrain from collecting any fungus from the Crown Land within the New Forest:

(Can’t seem to get that hyperlink to work, so cut and paste it into your browser!)

Commercial harvesting is not permitted.

Since this relatively recent announcement by the Forestry Commission a number of visitors have spoken to me about it, most fairly put out. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust fully endorses this position and extends the same policy to its own land. In light of my observations about the so-called foraging of parasol mushrooms at Blashford Lakes those visitors that I have spoken to on the subject have left with a more open mind and acceptance of the Forestry Commissions stance.

So whilst visiting Blashford this autumn (or any other time of year!), please do look, do photograph, feel free to touch (maybe wash your hands afterwards 😉 ) but, please, do not take.





One thought on “Bit wet last night!

  1. hear hear re the fungi. I support the stance. There is plenty of other forest areas for people to pick the odd few. There was a lad, child of one of the beach hut owners, down at Hengistbury, selling samphire picked there a couple of weeks ago. Im all for enterprise but I wonder how many people realise it is “theft” if picked for selling on!

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