Modern day forager utilising Doncaster’s woodland to find hidden gems

Doncaster has great biodiversity according to hobby mycologist who forages local woodland.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 6:44 am
Updated Thursday, 31st October 2019, 6:46 am
Natasha with a fungus she found.
Natasha with a fungus she found.

Natasha Marie Brennan-Raymond Image, aged 20, from Thorne is a keen forager.

She said: “ I have been foraging for about three years and it all started with seeing a few small caps in the garden.

“ I was just so curious to what they were and this led to me learning about how beneficial they are for our woodland and ecosystems.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“After spotting a few mushrooms it became as if I couldn't go walking without finding them.”

Natasha wanders the Doncaster woodland for hours to find mushrooms growing in the undergrowth.

“Mushrooms are actually the fruiting body of the organism,” she continued.“What people don't see is the vast networks of mycelium under the soil.“This is actually the main body of the organism.“Mycelium is crucial to help breakdown organic decaying compounds in our woodlands and essentially turns these items back into nutrient rich compost.”

According to Natasha, Doncaster is biodiverse with a mix of woodland, moorland and wetland which brings a good variety of trees and fungi.

With areas of natural beauty such as Austerfield and Potteric Carr which are perfect for mushroom exploration.

She said: “I absolutely love going to any forest with a strong Silver Birch presence.“There are lots of mycorrhizal and parasitic relationships between fungi and these trees.“It's always a treat looking around their roots.“I can find over 30 species under Birch trees.“I also regularly find the absolute fairy-tail mushroom that is Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria). “The stunning red a white caps vary in size and are always amazing to see.“I'm particularly fond of Wood Blewits (Clitocybe nuda)

“They have a lovely purple colour and can be found in coniferous and deciduous woodlands.”

Even though foraging is seen as a rather old time activity, Natasha has brought it into the 21st century with the use of Instagram.

She photographs everything she finds in the woods and posts these photos on her Instagram where she educated people on the different types of mushrooms.

You can follow her on Instagram here @Fuzzmonster_marie