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Autumn is a wonderful time to go foraging in woods for mushrooms. The best time is usually from early September until it gets frosty...

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Hampshire Life, October 2007

Unless
you know exactly what to look for you should never eat what you collect. Identifying fungi is a challenge in itself, irrespective of their edibility, and the walks we have listed below have the advantage of being led by experts.
Fungi Forays are popular so check if there is a limit to the group size. Stout shoes are recommended as it can get boggy underfoot, and make sure you are dressed for changeable weather. If you want to collect a few for your own identification it is worth taking several paper bags to keep different species apart. For the more serious collector, you may want a notebook and camera to help identification after your walk.



  • October 2: 10am-1pm. Portsdown Hill. Meet at east gate of Fort Widley. (Access via Fareham, Portchester and Cosham.) Cost: Free. For more information, tel: 02392 389623.
  • October 7: 10am-12noon. New Forest. Meet at Bolderwood car park. Booking essential. Cost: Adults £5; Children £3. Suitable for ages 12+. For more information, tel: 02380 286840 or visit www.thenewforest.co.uk
  • October 9: 10am-12noon. New Forest. Meet at Oakley Car Park, between Ornamental Drive and Burley. Cost: Adults £5; Children £3. Suitable for ages 12+. For more information, tel: 02380 283141 or email: alexis.reeve@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
  • October 10: 10am-12noon or 2pm-4pm. New Forest. Meet at Oakley Car Park, between Ornamental Drive and Burley. Cost: Adults £8; Children £5. Suitable for ages 10+. For more information, tel: 02380 283141 or email: alexis.reeve@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
  • October 11: 10am-12noon or 2pm-4pm. New Forest. Meet at Matley Car Park, between Lyndhurst and Beaulieu. Cost: Adults £8; Children £5. Suitable for ages 10+. For more information, tel: 02380 283141 or email: alexis.reeve@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
  • October 13: 2.30pm-4.30pm. Sir Harold Hiller Gardens, Romsey. Meet at Visitor and Education Pavillion. Booking essential. Cost: £3 plus normal admission. For more information,
    tel: 01794 369317 or 369318 or visit: www.hillier.hants.gov.uk
  • October 20-21: 11am-1pm. Exbury Gardens. Meet near head gardener's notice board. For more information, tel: 02380 891203 or visit: www.exbury.co.uk

Wild about water voles

One of Britain's rare mammals is making a strong comeback in the Borough of Eastleigh, thanks to the efforts of the council's countryside service. The water vole was, until recently, one of Britain's most rapidly declining native species. Now water vole sightings at the council's Itchen Valley Country Park have increased and their footprints have been seen on specially prepared clay-lined rafts floating in the water meadows.

The success is great news for Eastleigh's 'Wild about Eastleigh' partnership which has been focussing its efforts on protecting and enhancing vulnerable species and habitats as part of the borough's ongoing Biodiversity Action Plan.

A leaflet highlighting the biodiversity achievements of individuals, volunteer groups and various organisations has been published by Eastleigh Borough Council.

For a copy visit www.eastleigh.gov.uk/ebc-1520 or contact the council's biodiversity officer Rachel Urwin, tel: 023 8068 8352, email rachel.urwin@eastleigh.gov.uk

Bird of prey encounters
October 27 & 28: 9.30am to 4.30pm, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. This is a rare opportunity for an enchanting and personal encounter with birds of prey. Participants can learn all about the differences between hawks, owls and falcons through a series of technical workshops, practical handling sessions and amazing outdoor flight experiences. For ages 16+. Cost: £95, including lunch. For further information tel: 01794 369318 or visit www.hilliergardens.org.uk



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