Fascinating fungi at Blickling Estate
When the evenings draw in and the leaves begin to change on the trees, it’s time to get outdoors and discover the world of fungi in all its fascinating forms.
A hidden kingdom
Explore Blickling Estate's parkland and ancient woodland in search of one of nature's most important kingdoms - fungi.
Although it might be easy to overlook, given their largely hidden, unseen actions and growth, fungi are one of the most important groups of organisms on the planet. The group includes microorganisms such as yeasts, rusts and moulds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms.
There are many reasons why the work of fungi is so important. Not only can they be used as a source of food, but fungi are also vital for decomposition and plant growth.
Although mushrooms themselves are a popular delicacy, fungi are also fundamental ingredients for the production of bread, cheese, beer and wine. However, it is important to remember that while fungi can be edible, it is difficult to correctly identify them. Many are poisonous and can be deadly if eaten, so we strongly advise that our visitors do not eat any fungi found on the estate.
Fungi are responsible for most of nature's recycling, as they return dead and decomposing material to the soil, so that it can be reused. Without fungi, the earth as we know it would be lost under layers of animal and plant remains.
Fungi are a vital aid for the growth of most plants. As organisms, they spread long distances underground, so can capture water and nutrients from far away and bring them back to a plant's roots.
Fungi are all around us - not just under our feet when we go for a walk, but living on surfaces everywhere, even in the air we breathe. Autumn is the best time to go in search of fungi as they are easiest to spot in damp conditions, when they can feed and grow.
The important part of a fungus, the mycelium, lives underground and is vital for woodland health as they recycle nutrients needed for living plants to thrive. However, in autumn the fungi start to grow and as these fruiting bodies ripen their seeds, known as spores, are released into the air to start the cycle again.
On you next walk at Blickling Estate, see what lurks under leaves, amongst the grass, and protruding from ancient tree trunks and deadwood. You’ll discover a wonderful array of fungal fruiting bodies in all shapes, sizes and colours with fantastically enigmatic names, such as the scarlet elf cup, the jelly ear and the shaggy inkcap.
Enjoy a spot of photography? There are hundreds of different sorts of fungi in the UK and we'd love to see what weird and wonderful sightings you find across Blickling Estate. Share your snaps with us on social media using the hashtag #NTAutumnChallenge.