Posted: November 16th 2021
by Will Clennell
As a chill comes into the air, leaves begin to fall and a dampness pervades the ground, my eyes turn downwards and my thoughts turn to fungi. Neither a plant nor an animal, but occupying a kingdom all of their own and somewhere in between, the UK is home to 15,000 species of these beautiful, fascinating and vital organisms.
Consumers of dead wood and other surplus organic matter, the world would look very different if they did not exist. All the dead wood from the time trees first existed would take so much longer to break down that we would probably all be living on huge woodpiles. Without the unimaginably enormous networks of fungal mycelium that we have in the soil beneath us, there would be very little to hold that soil structure together.
Hills would crumble, soil would be washed away and arable agriculture would be nigh on impossible. Oh yeah, and there would be no beer, wine, leavened bread, blue cheese or penicillin.
So, there are plenty of reasons to love fungi and Holkham NNR is one of the best places to find them!