Mardley Heath field meeting, Herts
Oct 2 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

Mixed semi-natural woodland with a range of habitats.  It can be a very good site for large toadstool species, and a colourful relative of the common Stinkhorn, Clathrus archeri, a native of Australia and New Zealand, was found there a few years ago.  Last autumn the highlight was a white club / coral fungus Clavulina etrubiae, only recently recorded in Britain.

Meet in the car park on the north side of Heath Road, Grid ref: TL 248184.

Leader: Kerry Robinson

Wrest Park field meeting, Silsoe, Beds
Oct 12 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

Wrest Park comprises 90 acres of gardens including many ornamental and ancient trees, woodland, grassland and water bodies; we resumed our visits in 2019.  One of its original features is the formal Versailles-like canal, the Long Water, created in the 1680s. There are various gothic buildings (many of these the work of Batty Langley) and over 40 statues. There is also a conservatory giving the possibility of finding synanthropic species such as Leucocoprinus spp. Those who do not know the site may like to have a look at the Wrest Park website in advance of the meeting. It is a fascinating place and has proved to be rich in native flora, fungi and invertebrates.  There is a good cafe and toilets and as there is plenty to occupy people for the day, you may wish to bring lunch or purchase refreshments.

Turn off the A6 at the roundabout just south of Silsoe (TL082347); then drive north into Silsoe, turning right (east) in Silsoe just past the church and driving over the A6 into the park. Meet in the English Heritage car park (Grid ref: TL 091356).  The entrance charge is being waived for those attending this meeting provided that you are punctual and enter the site from the free car park as part of our group.  To benefit from free admission and car parking, pre-booking is needed by 30 September.

Leaders:  Pat & Keith Cavanagh

Swiss Gardens field meeting, Shuttleworth, Old Warden, Beds
Oct 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

Meeting expected to include a limited number of members of the public. This has proved an interesting and productive site in past years. A particularly exciting find in 2018 was the very rare Sandy Stiltball (Battarrea phalloides). The site is a charming early 19th century landscape garden, with plants from all over the world, ponds, bridges, rose arbors, miniature buildings, a grotto and fernery, and a tiny, thatched Swiss Cottage. The adjoining woodland and lakeside picnic area are also accessible to us.  Restaurant, bar, tea-room and toilet facilities are available and as there is plenty here to occupy people for the day, you may wish to bring lunch or purchase refreshments there. 

Access to Swiss Gardens has changed and is now off the B658 to Stanford at grid ref. TL165433.  The entrance charge is being waived for those attending this meeting provided that you are punctual and enter the site as part of our group.  To benefit from free admission and car parking, pre-booking with Steve is needed by 30 September.

Leaders:  Margaret & Steve Kelly

Bricket Wood field meeting, Herts
Oct 23 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

This SSSI covers 78 hectares and consists of a diverse range of habitats including ancient semi-natural woodland, hornbeam coppice and wet lowland/acid grassland.  Park in layby down School Lane, near Munden Estate, Grid ref: TL 132006. 

For anyone unfamiliar with the area and arriving from the south on the M1, here are suggested directions:  Leave the M1 at junction 6 and take the slip road round in a loop to the North Orbital Road (A405) heading briefly northwest towards St Albans and the M25.  When this road goes under the M1, take the right hand lane to turn right – you are essentially doing a U-turn back onto the A405 heading south.  Then after a short distance turn left off the A405, and then take the 2nd turning left (continuation of Mount Pleasant Lane) and follow this road for about a mile, turning right onto School Lane just after the railway bridge, and then it’s another mile to the meeting point. 

Leaders: Margaret & Steve Kelly

Heartwood Forest field meeting, Herts
Oct 30 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

A site acquired by the Woodland Trust a few years ago, consisting of four patches of woodland, with fields between the woods planted with trees to create woodland for the future.  Last year it was good to see fungi appearing in the grass around the younger trees.  The entrance to the car park is not shown on older maps but is on the B651 just to the north of Coleman Green Lane at Grid ref: TL172111.

Leader:  Kerry Robinson

The Lodge, Sandy RSPB Reserve, Beds  
Nov 6 @ 10:00 am – 3:30 pm

Morning and afternoon sessions, 10am and / or 13.30

The morning session is an annual joint field meeting with RSPB and the Beds Natural History Society.  The afternoon session is for our members only.  This site which has been well studied for its fungi over many years has a range of habitats including grassland and heathland as well as woodland with a large diversity of tree species. There are many interesting fungi and the most successful visits are late season. For the last few years this site has consistently produced long lists of species including several rarities.  Meet in the Lodge car park (TL191486); there is normally a parking charge for non-RSPB members but look for signs directing you to parking for our meeting, which will be free for BNHS and HBFG members who have pre-booked with Alan Outen by 28 October.

Leaders:  Dave Buckingham & Alan Outen

Waterford Heath field meeting, Herts
Nov 13 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

A site with a wide range of trees and habitats – old oak, hornbeam and sweet chestnut; humps & hollows left from past gravel extraction – which has produced a number of new British and European records.  Park in the car park on your left as you leave Waterford Heath heading east along Vicarage Lane, shortly after you cross the railway, Grid ref: TL 317150.

Leader: Kerry Robinson

Stockgrove Park field meeting, Beds
Nov 20 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

A late autumn visit to this Greensand Ridge site, which can usually be relied upon to offer us the Herald of Winter (Hygrophorus hypothejus).  Meet in the car park at Stockgrove Country Park off to the southwest of Brickhill Road which runs between Heath & Reach and Great Brickhill. Grid ref: SP920293.  There is a visitors’ centre, café (great bacon rolls!) and toilets.  The car park now has a number plate recognition system.  Charges last year were £4 for up to 3 hours, £6 for longer. See https://www.greensandtrust.org/parking-at-rushmere – look at the info on the Stockgrove car park, NOT the Main car park.

Leaders:  Pat & Keith Cavanagh

Northaw Great Wood field meeting, Herts
Nov 27 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

Northaw Great Wood is an SSSI comprising mainly oak, birch, sweet chestnut and hornbeam, with some wood pasture. Situated on the B157 (The Ridgeway) at Cuffley, off the main A1000 Great North Road.  Meet in car park, Grid ref: TL282040.  There may be an honesty box (£1).

Leader: Claudi V Soler

Hockeridge Wood field meeting, Bucks
Dec 11 @ 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

Field meeting followed by barbecue & AGM

This site which is just over the Hertfordshire border was for many years a popular destination for autumn field meetings of the Berkhamsted WEA fungi class which led to the formation of our Fungi Group, and has also produced some interesting finds out of the season. Meet at Grid ref: SP976068 parking with care along roadside.

Once again Sue has kindly offered to host our winter get-together after this final meeting of the autumn.  Please let the leader know in advance if you will be staying for the BBQ (this will enable us to know how many to cater for) and if possible bring a dish of your choice to share.

Leader:  Sandra Hayter