Food for thought!

Gordon Beakes

04 September 2012

Mushrooms are magic – but be careful what you pick

FORESTRY COMMISSION - Press notice - To: News Desk 4 September 2012

Image attached: Fungi expert Gordon Beakes says be careful what you pick if you go on a forage.

The fungi season is almost here – but experts warn that you need to know your onions before going out foraging for mushrooms.

Scores of species will be sprouting forth over the Autumn in Northumberland, but there’s no simple way of telling the tasty ones from those which are deadly.

Now the Forestry Commission has teamed up with leading experts to stage public forages on 16 September in Kielder Water & Forest Park and two longer workshops at Kielder Castle on 29 and 30 September.

“Fungi are vital to the forest eco-system, so if you do pick them do so sparingly," said Gordon Beakes, from Newcastle University, who has studied the subject for 30 years. "The key thing is to be cautious. Some gourmet species look very similar to lethal specimens like the Death Cap. The UK has over 4,000 different species so it can be bewildering. And just because a fungus is brightly coloured doesn’t necessarily mean its poisonous. Meanwhile the pure white Destroying Angel lives up to its name. The only way to identify them is to arm yourself with knowledge.”

Fungi walks on 16 September meet at Kielder Castle at 10.30am and 2pm and cost £6 (£5 concessions/£16 family of four).

The longer workshops (29/30 Sept) cost £25, including light lunch. Suitable for beginners and more advanced foragers alike, you will be able to sort through specimens and learn to how recognise their key features.

Booking is essential for these popular events on 01434 250209, or by calling at Kielder Castle Visitor Centre.

Note 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

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038 - - Mobile: 0775 367 0038

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