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    CHICCHANTAL   28,245
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A fairytale world

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Yes, I've been bitten by the fungus bug. So this blog comes with a warning. If you're not interested in toadstools or they give you the screaming abdabs, now is a good moment to stop reading.

Today I went to (wait for it!) Epping Forest. Again. With the specific intention of looking for 'shrooms. I took my knitting with me.

Laugh all you want but I am knitting myself a woolly 'at to wear on long walks, and not getting much of it knitted because I'm spending all my spare time on long walks. However if I didn't do the walks, I wouldn't need the 'at. The journey to Epping is more than an hour so I can either knit or read and knitting weighs less than a book.

Get to Epping, take the little footpath from the station up towards the high road, find a new little path that I have not seen before and emerge very quickly near Tesco's which I visit for lavatorial purposes. Theirs is the last loo for three hours so worth a visit. I do not do thickets except in extreme cases, and the thickets in the forest are unreliable. Many's the mountain bike with rider that I've seen emerging from a thicket in Epping Forest.

So, I head off briskly up the road. If I were a horse I would be snorting and pawing the ground. Get to the start of Bell Common and go over to examine the pond. Very pretty if wintry. Less pretty is the squidgy mud everywhere. I am resigned to muddy trainers but I do not want wet feet this early in the day. Make a strategic decision to walk along the road next to the common.

It's a beautiful day. There are no clouds. Not one. The sky is deep blue and every surface is coruscating with light. I have photochromic specs but they can't deal with this, so in fact I can only see where I am going if I turn my head away from the sun (I'm heading into it at this point).

I notice a road named Bury Road, which is interesting, cos the first time I walked along here, I looked over at a copse of trees on the common and thought 'burial mound'. Just the way they grew in a clump. Wonder if I'm right.

So, turn off and walk along the road to the start of the nice clear path through the forest. And I'm in.

And it's wonderful.

There has been a very very heavy dew and the grass is silver with it. We also had lots of rain yesterday, and there is mist rising through the trees. They have lost most of their leaves, so there is more light than in the summer and light is sliding through them and catching the rising mist. The air is cool and still and there's that sourish yeasty smell you get from freshly fallen decomposing leaves. I keep stopping and looking and taking photos and wondering how on earth I will be able to describe this magical place in a mere blog. The whole place looks like something out of the Arthurian legends.

After a while I give myself a shake and think shrooms. Last week, I saw some people taking photos of many shrooms on a log so I keep my eye open for shrooms on a log again.

And here it is:

And here are some more:

I am particularly excited by this purple one, which I nearly trod on. Am going to try and identify them.

I keep walking and every so often I see an interesting looking log and go and inspect it for shrooms. A lot of them, however, are on the forest floor like this:

And this one which was about 20cm across:

You have to really watch where you put your feet.

I thought this green one might be slime-covered but I'm not sure:

And this one had been chewed by something:

I keep walking and come to Ambresbury banks, now completely covered in leaves. I'm planning to have a look for Loughton Fort later on as well.

There are loads and loads of people about today, which surprises me a bit, but then I realise why: the weather. It's been vile all week and in fact wasn't great last weekend either, but today it's so gorgeous that even if I'd had other plans I would have abandoned them to do this.

A mum and three or four assorted children zips path on their bikes and the smallest child is heard to complain 'I'm all muddy now'. He certainly is, splashed from face to foot, including his face! Mum will have to hose him down before he's allowed in the house when they get home.

I'm still hopping off the path every five minutes to take photos of shrooms, or at least look for them. The ones that grow on logs seem not to grow on mossy logs, they prefer their logs to be more decayed than that.

The actual moss is quite interesting too. This bit had little sort of grey antler things growing out of it, only about 5-6 mm tall.

This bit had little earshaped 'leaf' things.

Clearly I need a book about moss as well as a book about 'shrooms. I was talking about the lack of animals and birds last week. Today I've seen two magpies, nothing else, but to be honest I've spent so much time looking under logs I would probably have missed a herd of rhinoceros.

I also MUST get some boots. I come to the bit just before the first road, the bit that has always been soggy, and it's a quagmire. In fact the path needs some TLC really.

Reach and cross the first bit of road. Check the map on the noticeboard. I haven't brought my own map with me today, because I know the way. Now I'm in my favourite part. The forest is quite open and light here, there are banks and dips and a fabulous view off to my right. Reach a junction in the path and choose the left hand branch confidently. You can see much further now that the leaves have fallen and I venture off the path a short way to inspect a treetrunk ('shroomless) before returning to the path.

Shortly after this the path starts going downhill.


The path I think I'm on doesn't look like this. In fact this is the path to Debden-bloody-Green again isn't it?

Curses, curses. I was waiting till I got to my second favourite lunch log because eating, but I turn back the way I've come and fish my sandwiches out of my back pack. I do not like making sandwiches much so they are what you'd call basic. This morning I got two slices of bread out of the freezer, spread peanut butter on one of them, put the other slice on top of it, and called them lunch.

Let me tell you right now darlings, no sarnie has ever tasted as good as that one did today. I was ravenous.

Get back to the junction - happily I had only gone a couple of hundred metres wrong - and within minutes I'm in my absolute favourite part of the forest. It's on very high ground, there are views everywhere between the trees, and the trees themselves have been thinned out I think. There are a couple of dozen people here, everyone's doing what I am, which is walking along with a silly grin on their face.

It's just so lovely, you know?

Walk down the slope to a brook that now has water in it and up the hill at the other side feeling glad I ate those sarnies and thinking another couple would go down nicely if I had more which I haven't but there is soup when I get to my second favourite log, the one in the car park.

Arrive there and it's a bit wet but sit down anyway. Pour out soup and this soup was pretty good anyway (celery, leek, carrot and butternut squash with some coriander leaves - cilantro to the Americans) but under the circs it's like nectar.

Half-way through the soup, I notice 'shrooms growing out the end of my log. Finish soup and take a photo.

Go to other end of log and there are more 'shrooms.

Wasn't even looking for these ones!

Get up, walk over to road, cross road. Am now on the last section of the walk. I've walked this bit three or four times from the other direction but I have never walked the whole of it this way. I turned off to go to Waltham Abbey the one time I came this way. Am overtaken by three people with a dog, which looks a bit like a cross between a dachshund and a corgi but with longer fur. He has clearly had a bath recently because his fur (golden brown and white) is beautifully clean and fluffy. His feet are sticky with mud.

Walk downhill to a stream and the three people are watching the dog, which has launched itself into the stream, and cheering it on. Well this explains why he looked so clean and fluffy, he must need a bath every time he goes for a walk! Walk up the hill and to the left of me is the place where Blackweir Pool is marked on the map. I'm wondering about going to look for it, but I am a bit tired. See a woman emerging from the forest and she stops me and asks which direction is the quickest to a 'town'. I point ahead of me and say 'Loughton, about two miles that way'. She asks what's the other way. I say 'Epping, four or five miles'. She decides on Epping as she started in Loughton.

(Well I hope she found her way ok. It was only about 1pm, which gave her three and a half hours of daylight, but she was wearing makeup and a very urban looking coat so I'm not sure this sort of walking was something she'd done very much. Mind you, she had found the main path so there'd be plenty of people to ask directions of.)

Now, I'm near the turnoff for Waltham Abbey and just after that is the place that I identified last week as being the path to Loughton Fort, the other prehistoric earthwork in the forest. So I walk down it. It's marked by my favourite log for breakfast/lunch/elevenses which has other people sitting on it, they've climbed up about four feet off the ground and carried their dog with them, so it's lucky I've already eaten everything I have to eat with me.

The path is boggy, and rutted with cycle tracks. According to the map that I haven't got with me, the fort is a very short distance from the main path. Then I notice a post with an arrow on it, then another. This is all well and good, telling me (rather intermittently) how to find the fort, but where are the arrows to tell me the way back.

And where IS the fort. There are loads of banks and I can see people in the distance cycling up and down some of them (this fort is only 2,500 years old you know, so it's fine for people to use it as a cycle playground), then I see a sign and go over to have a look at it. This fort is not so well defined as Ambresbury, but you can make out the ridges. My pleasure in my success at finding it is rather dimmed by the 'how on earth will I find my way back?' feeling. I start walking in what I think is the direction I came in and follow some cycle tracks and then see the back of a post with an arrow on and then a tree that I had noticed as being distinctive and I'm back out on the path again. So I don't get lost, and part of the reason why not is that I now know how easy it is to get lost.

The last bit of the walk is uneventful except I see another huge toadstool

and then walking down the main road to Loughton, loads and loads of them in the leaves. I think these may be the ones I identified last week as blewitts, but they have grown a lot more and look different now.

And this is the thing about fungi. There's a huge variation between one and the next, even if they are the same species, which is why people eat the wrong kind.

Now I'm off to see if I can work out what any of these are from my pix.

Then I'm having dinner. Without 'shrooms.

PS the moss with little antlers is just moss with ANOTHER kind of fungus growing through it! It's called candle snuff fungus.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SCRIPTEDFLIGHT 8/15/2013 11:58AM

    Beautiful pictures! Sounds like you had quite the walk.

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SERASARA 2/24/2013 12:40PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EFFRAYECHILDE 11/27/2012 8:20AM

    Beautiful photos. What a wonderful hiking spot!

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PROVERBS31JULIA 11/21/2012 11:51PM

    Oh this was WONDERFUL!!

Just wait till you get a video camera - that would be really neat too (albeit a long movie, I suppose!).

The mushrooms and fungi are fascinating!!

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2ABBYNORMAL 11/21/2012 9:40PM

    What a wonderful story. The pictures are beautiful. Wish I was there.

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SUNNYWBL 11/21/2012 5:23PM

    I enjoyed our walk together! Thank you!

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LINDERVEE 11/17/2012 12:00AM

    Breathtaking! Thanks for sharing. :)

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MCJULIEO 11/16/2012 12:44PM

    It DOES look magically Arthurian... I feel like I've had a real treat!

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TREE57 11/15/2012 2:58PM

    The photos you have taken are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them with your Spark family. I traveled through your blog/journal and could actually smell the fragrance of the woods.

You definitely should write a are a very gifted writer!


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KIMBOLEAN 11/15/2012 1:25PM


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REGSHAR 11/15/2012 10:44AM


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HYATTI1 11/15/2012 8:47AM

    I am so jealous of your walks and they inspire me to walk. I am going to take my camera out and give you a little competition from one side of the world to the other. Thanks for the inspiration. By the way your blogs are the only ones I have read today so far.

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DANAPRIME 11/14/2012 9:08PM

    You described it very well!!!!! Arthurian is the prefect word!

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EAGLES_WINGS 11/14/2012 5:59PM

    Looks delightful! I enjoyed hiking in the past. Wish I still could. I can smell the Earth just looking at your photos! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CINDYRINAL 11/14/2012 9:23AM

    I enjoyed your blog. What a wonderful walk. I've always liked fungi they are fascinating. There is an infinite variety if only you look.

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EMILYDOODLE 11/13/2012 10:43PM

  Absolutely gorgeous pics!

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WISEDIETER 11/13/2012 7:20PM

    A joy to read we have a beautiful forest at a place called Hamner but man made around Easter is the time to go many bright red shrooms but very poisonous now classed as a noxious fungi but for all that beautiful so enjoyed this blog soooo one day I hope for a visit
Cheers Sue

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NANNABLACK 11/13/2012 7:16PM

    Thanks for sharing. Beautiful area.

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13ICANDOIT13 11/13/2012 7:05PM


I am allergic to mushrooms however, I loved the blog. I loved how you write in your own language. It was like a fairytale. I enjoyed the pictures the best, I especially liked the one of the fort. Where is this place? Have a great day. Check out my blog Being Honest. Teresa

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NOMORENOMORE 11/13/2012 6:52PM

    I just ADORE how you write. I felt like I was there with you. The pictures are beautiful! emoticon

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SMILEY3826 11/13/2012 2:09PM

    what a wonderful blog! beautiful pictures!

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PMFISH 11/13/2012 1:03PM

    Thanks for sharing! Great pics and descriptions. Enjoyed it immensely.

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DMF2012 11/13/2012 12:53PM

    Sounds like a great walk. Thanks for sharing, along with the awesome pics!

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RONNIEHUEY 11/13/2012 12:51PM

    Wish I could join you on your walks!

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JSTBECUZ99 11/13/2012 12:46PM


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SURRENDER21 11/13/2012 12:12PM

    OH, this makes me long to get out and walk in my beautiful mountains, they are only a 20 minute drive away, and not yet covered with snow. You've inspired me to get up there soon for a long walk before the snow is too deep. Your pictures are amazing! And your descriptions - corsucating with light - you area gifted writer and photographer. I love the shrooms and the mist and the fairytale feeling of the forest. Our mountains are beautiful in a stark way, dry and rocky, no mist and moss and shrooms, sometimes even very few trees. At times I miss the damp crowded forests where I grew up. Anyway, thank you for sharing.

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STUFFNEARTABOR 11/13/2012 11:19AM


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JOHNMARTINMILES 11/13/2012 11:10AM


Sounds like you had a great time even if no one else appreciates fungi!

Make today a great day

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MANILUS 11/13/2012 10:24AM

    It is a beautiful walk and you are so funny with the language you use!

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VOLLEYGIRL77 11/13/2012 10:05AM

    Awesome pictures! Even though mushrooms do freak me out :)

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JSMC10 11/13/2012 8:44AM

    beautiful pictures! looks like a stunning walk! emoticon

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ORODEO73 11/13/2012 8:41AM

    What an interesting and beautiful walk and variety of mushrooms. Thank you for sharing.

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AJB121299 11/13/2012 7:41AM


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THEIS58 11/13/2012 6:20AM

    Great photos!

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1954MARG 11/13/2012 5:55AM

  What beautiful photo's.

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1BEACHWALKER 11/13/2012 2:45AM

    emoticon In our latest walk though the woods we spotted a white moss of some sort all over the ground! Really cool- I posted it in my blog. Never seen it before.
That is something to see so many mushrooms in one area! Really nice photos! Pretty place to hike! emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 11/13/2012 1:54AM


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GRAMMAP1 11/13/2012 12:14AM

    What a fine writing. Thank you for your discriptive monologue and the lovely photos. It is kind of you to share a path many of us will never be able to tread.

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PYNETREE 11/12/2012 11:03PM

    Thanks for taking us along! You gift of words, has transported us! Now, if we could only count it as OUR exercise for today! emoticon

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ROCKYCPA 11/12/2012 10:49PM

    Great blog - thanks for sharing. As usual your pics are great!

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REENIE131 11/12/2012 10:38PM

    Terrific blog again!

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WHITEANGEL4 11/12/2012 10:02PM

    Love your blog and the great descriptions. Thanks for all the lovely photos

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FANCYFREE15 11/12/2012 9:42PM

    Your blogs are such a joy to read - and the pix just double the pleasure! emoticon

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JAMER123 11/12/2012 9:19PM

    Thanks for sharing. I knew there are many types of mushrooms but haven't seen the majority of the ones in your pictures. Thus, a lesson for me!! YAH! A few yrs. ago, we redid our retaining wall. We had railroad ties and changed to stones. Buried the railroad ties and we were suddenly amassing "bushes" of mushrooms!! That lasted for 5-6 yrs. and then they disappeared, never to be seen again!!
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SASSYTHING52 11/12/2012 8:22PM

    thanks for sharing really enjoyed

and I LOVE UR BEACH PIC emoticon

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KARIDIAN1 11/12/2012 7:53PM

    Great photos. Really must have been a good walk. You have a good eye for taking photos.

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ALDEBARANIAN 11/12/2012 7:51PM

    What lovely pics. I have no idea what all those different kinds of 'shrooms are. One thing's for certain, the magical beauty of Epping Forest shines through. Looks like you've been "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."

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MJ7DM33 11/12/2012 7:43PM

  Beautiful pics!!! Thanks for sharing!

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LTMURPHY7 11/12/2012 7:37PM


Great journey you had

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JIBBIE49 11/12/2012 7:28PM

    You're the star again. Congrats.

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