Fungi fan Ray sees interest mushroom into new role

A MARKET Rasen fungi enthusiast has taken on his ideal role.

Ray Halstead is now the Lincolnshire county recorder responsible for collating sightings of fungi and managing a massive database of more than 56,000 entries.

Ray is keen to share his passion and will be leading the Forestry Commission’s popular public forage in Chambers Farm Wood, near Wragby, on Saturday, October 20.

“Some of the earliest reports on the database stem from the 16 and 17th centuries,” said Ray, who is a member of the 
Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union and who has been fascinated by the subject for 15 years.

“I’d call myself an 
enthusiast rather than an expert because fungi are such extraordinary and diverse organisms. There’s always something more to learn.”

Chambers is part of 
the Bardney Limewoods 
National Nature Reserve and a hotspot for 
mushrooms and 
toadstools.

“I tend not to advocate picking wild fungi as it can be dangerous if you are 
not knowledgeable,” adds Ray.

“Many varieties also play an important role in maintaining a healthy environment.”

As well as identifying species, Ray will explain how fungi had very 
practical uses in the 
past, such as red and 
white fly agaric, chopped up in milk and used as a fly killer, and ink cap, which really was a source writing inks.

The two-hour walk meets at 1.30pm at the Chambers Farm Wood Centre off the B1202 Wragby to Bardney Road, and costs £5 per person.

It is suitable for 
children.

Booking is required. Contact Hannah Darcel on 07789 942599 or 
e-mail hannah.darcel@forestry.gsi.gov.uk