Late summer

It is sometimes said that the U.K. doesn’t have a climate, it only has weather.

This isn’t strictly true, we have a maritime climate, strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream. If we didn’t have this beneficial warm ocean current bathing our shores we would have a climate like Labrador’s, as it is on exactly the same latitude on the other side of the North Atlantic. That would be chilly!

Whilst it is true that our weather has always been variable – which is why we talk about it so much – it is now chaotic, with heatwaves, floods, droughts and cold spells hitting us at unpredictable intervals. We seem to be enduring this wild weather, the same as the rest of the world.

Even so, we hope to get some good foraging in this year. Covid-19 restrictions limited us to just two afternoon sessions in 2020; groups of only six people in early December, which is late for most mushrooms. We did still manage to find some edible mushrooms for everyone who came along.

There seems to have been a nationwide resurgence of interest in the natural world as a result of lockdowns, quarantines, furloughing and working from home. We hope that this will mean good sized groups for our courses, which we limit to fourteen clients for practical reasons. We used to run our courses mainly in October, but now we find that the peak mushroom season is in November, (the old textbooks will have to be rewritten). Due to climate change the season now peaks later and extends longer. Mushroom species that were previously of reliable early or late autumn occurrence now overlap, giving extra problems for identification. We need to be especially careful now, as so many species are coming up out of season, giving more chances of misidentifying lookalikes.

Spring comes earlier too and summer is longer, even if not reliably warmer. As a result English wine harvests are improving as is the quality, though judging by the weather so far, this year will probably not be a top vintage.

Forest Forager