Dr Gordon serves up a tasty event for fungi fans


FORESTRY COMMISSION - Press Notice 13964

Pictured: Gordon Beakes with favoured fungi - including the purple and yellow "Plums and Custard" variety, which despite its name is not edible.

The Forestry Commission is staging fungi treks across the region’s spectacular woods - and for Dr Gordon Beakes the mushroom season can’t come too early!

Gordon, from Bardon Mill, is a reader in Mycology at Newcastle University and when he’s not trawling over technical papers at work he unwinds by spotting fungi and finding Chanterelle mushrooms to cook.

For the past 30 year he has wandered far and wide across Northumberland’s broad acres, recording species and rejoicing in the sheer variety of specimens on offer.

Now he will impart his passion to novices with day long workshops in 155,000 acre Kielder Water & Forest Park on 18 September and 16 October. Gordon said:

“I got interested in fungi when I was 14 year old and I’ve been at it ever since, both professionally and in my spare time. You never know what you are going to find which is all part of the excitement. Mainly it’s for interest, but I do occasionally cook fungi, although in the bumper year of 1976 I got so sated on the stuff I got a tickly stomach. Since then I’ve been a bit more restrained.”

The workshop starts at 10am and involves a walk along the fungi rich footpaths near 18th century Kielder Castle, tips on identification and a possible tasting session. The cost is £25 and booking is essential on 01434 250209.

Elsewhere, nature fans can enjoy two hour walks to track down fabulous fungi. They take place at:

Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland – 26 September, 11am and 2.30pm
Kielder Castle - 3 October - 10.30am
Thrunton Wood, near Rothbury - 9 October, 11am
Greenhaugh School, near Bellingham - 17 October, 10.30am
Warksburn Picnic Site, Stonehaugh - 17 October, 2.30pm

Booking is required on 01434 250209 and the cost is £6 adults, £4 concessions and £14 for a family of four.

The Friends of Ladycross Quarry are also staging a forage in Slaley Forest, Slaley, on 25 September at 2pm (Tel 01434 673302).

And a fungal foray supported by the Friends of Chopwell Wood will be held in the Gateshead beauty spot on 10 October at 2pm (£3 adult and £1 child, book on 01388 488312).

Media calls to Richard Darn on 01226 246351. Mobile 0775 367 0038.

Notes to Editor

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For more visit www.forestry.gov.uk/northeastengland.

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