So I could not work this past Friday as it was piddling down with rain so a boring day sitting in my office catching up on my business paperwork seemed on the cards until I looked out of my window about 10am and saw that the rain had actually stopped. Checking the weather app on my phone showed that the forecast had actually changed and rather than the constant rain that was previously planned it was now only going to be the odd light shower. My initial thoughts were that I could actually go and get some of my planned jobs done, but that thought soon drifted away as I clicked on Facebook and saw lots of posts about recently foraged Porcinis, that was it I was going mushroom hunting, work could wait for another day.

My chosen place to forage was going to be Thorndon Country Park but this time I would try The north entrance instead of my usual south. I’ve not explored much of the north part of Thornton but the small amount of it I had was heavily wooded with a very good possibility of being able to find some mushrooms. Finally arriving late morning I chucked my rucksack across my shoulders and set of through the car park and towards a gravelled track that run into the trees, passing through a small ‘heathland’ area on the way.

It was not too long before I stumbled across my first mushroom, which had been knocked over from where it had been growing in the grass along a fence line. Soon after the I found the remnants of a few more, in the woodlands, which had been nibbled at by some woodland creatures. My guess is that the local squirrels like mushrooms as a lot of the chewed up mushroom stalks were found on top of little earth mounds, good look out spots.

Walking further along the large gravel track I passed by the Information Center and a couple of groups of school kids noisily being taught about the woodland by the resident rangers. A little while later I stepped of the track and started searching deeper into the untrodden part of the woodland, my favourite thing to do since being a kid has always been to explore areas that not many people venture to, and these woodlands had some lovely spots to explore.

Eventually I started to find some mushrooms hidden beneath the canopy of the trees. Now I am pretty new to mushroom spotting and have to say that I did not know the names of any of the fungi that I found but I do have some good reference websites that I can research them. Also, stupidly, I had forgotten my little Collins Gem book of Mushrooms which I usually take with me when I go mushroom hunting. I was really hoping to find some Porcini mushroom on my woodland wander but unfortunately I had no luck with these but did find a lot of other varieties, with the most abundant being the Birch Polypore, one that I do know of by heart.

After a couple of hours stumbling through the undergrowth I decided to just enjoy my stroll through this beautiful woodland. The tracks I took varied in ease from wide and fairly flat to narrow and quite steep in places, just the way I like them, forever changing. There was squirrels scurrying around practically every corner and I also heard something a lot bigger crashing through the cover of the dense undergrowth in one area, which I guess was either a fox or possibly a deer as there are quite a few resident in that area of Essex.

Before long I had completed a a large loop around the north part of the country park and had ended back at the car park where I jumped in the back of my van and had a wee break because power walking up the quite steep tracks had knackered me out a bit, I am 50 after all. Unfortunately I messed up my KOMOOT maps so have no record of the route I took which is a shame but my Fitbit told me I had walked in the region of 4.5 miles around the glorious woodland.

It was a shame that I had no edible mushrooms to take back for my dinner but I will return soon and try again.

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