The Cheviot Hills, Northumberland National Park\n© Simon Fraser

Waxcap Survey

Northern Study Fungus GroupNorthern Study Fungus Group
The Northumberland National Park Waxcap survey was set up to improve the Park's knowledge of the whereabouts and extent of these uncommon grassland fungi which indicate an ancient grassland habitat.

The survey was devised in a way as to not exclude the non-fungi expert. A selection of coloured toadstools easily seen in short grassland was selected, photographed and put onto a postcard. The emphasis was not to exact identification but more on noting the various colours found.  

Date WaxcapDate Waxcap (Hygrocybe spadicea)
The presence of a number of different waxcaps at any one place could indicate an exciting site that may be regionally, if not nationally important! The aim was to encourage the general public to take part in looking for these attractive fungi and help inform the National Park in doing so. It is planned that the survey will be re-run every September to November.

SDF funding paid for the printing of the survey postcard - £230 in all.

Ranger staff, design staff and mycological experts were involved in the production and design while partner organisations such as Natural England were involved in promoting. Farmers, communities, volunteers, visitors and specialist organisations were all invited to take part.

Information was sent to all information centres and National Park info points. A community guided walk and press articles helped to spread the word as well. Articles appeared in local papers and the Ramblers magazine.

The Northern Fungus Study Group held a field day specializing in Waxcaps at Rothbury with members coming from as far away as Oban and North Yorkshire. Country Walking magazine even came out to devise a 'waxcap' walk for their magazine (Sept 2011).

Results came in from all across the National Park, highlighting some areas for future research. One find of particular note was the discovery of the Date Waxcap which is a Red Data species and was previously unrecorded from North East England.

© Northumberland National Park Authority, Eastburn, South Park, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 1BS, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1434 605555 Fax: +44 (0)1434 611675 Email: enquiries@nnpa.org.uk