top of page
  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Autumn Fungi at Friston Forest, Forestry England, East Sussex. 10.11.23

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

We reached Friston Forest by bus from Brighton. The 12 bus runs frequently. Friston Forest is behind the Seven Sisters Country Park at Exceat, Coaster 12 - Eastbourne-Brighton | Brighton & Hove Buses. I visited Friston with a friend.

This map is a screen shot form my mobile phone from OS Map App, see Online maps & routes for walking, cycling and running | OS Maps

The photos of fungi in this pots were mostly taken in the forest compartments of beech just to the south of Charleston Bottom

About Friston Forest

Friston Forest is within the South Downs National Park between Lulington Heath National Nature Reserve and Seven Sisters Country Park. It is the largest area of recently established forest in South East England. Friston Forest | Forestry England

In 1908, the newly founded Eastbourne Waterworks Company (later South East Water) bought the downland on which Friston Forest now stands and created adits beneath the valley to collect water for the new development of Eastbourne. Planting of the Forest to protect Eastbourne’s water supply was started in 1926 by the Forestry Commission who leased it from Eastbourne Waterworks Company on a 200-year lease. The intention was to establish a beech forest with conifers as protection. The conifers, which grow much faster than the harder beechwood, were successively cut down and sold for pulp as the beech flourished. The Forest is now almost pure beech with patches of pine and sycamore. By the middle of this century, the Forest is expected to be one of the largest beech woodlands in the country, covering some 1,500 acres and containing over four million trees. However, with its shallow root system, beech is one of the trees predicted to be most vulnerable to rising temperatures in an age of climate change. In order for the forest to continue providing a habitat for birds, butterflies, rare plant life, wildflowers, orchids and many types of fungi, it is important that open spaces are maintained. Very little wildlife thrives within a mature beech woodland.

All sections of text in italics are quotations, sources sited.

I am only an amateur naturalist; thus all identifications are provisional; if you note a mistake in identification please feel free to tell me. If you want to contact me about any aspect of this blog, email me at simeon[underscore]elliott[at]gmail[dot]com

Fungi are not always easy to identify. I think we saw 30 different species at Friston Forest; but some of my identification are likely to be wrong, and I may have identified the same fungus more than once with different names. As fungi's fruit, growing fruiting bodies (mushrooms, toadstools, brackets), these fruiting bodies change quickly and decompose/deliquesce quickly after releasing their spores. Decaying/deliquescing fungi are very hard to identify.

The resources I find useful are Buczacki, Stefan; Shields, Chris; Ovenden, Denys (2013) Collins Fungi Guide : The Most Complete Field Guide to the Mushrooms & Toadstools of Britain & Ireland and Philips (2006) Mushrooms. iNaturalist has useful AI photo identification for fungi (and all species of lfe) and is free to use; and if you submit observations to iNaturalist you will probably get peer feedback if you got the ID wrong. But iNaturalist AI does make mistakes! Picture Mushroom also has useful AI photo identification and is free to use if you don't pay for the enhanced version. And Picture Mushroom AI make mistakes too!

Do not rely on any identification I have made here as an accurate identification with regard to a species and its edibility. I make no comment on the edibility of fungi as I do not forage fungi for food, I just photograph them and leave them where they are for others to enjoy. Remember some fungi are highly poisonous; and some can kill you if eaten.

But you don't need to be able to identify lfungi to enjoy them; I get great pleasure from observing the beauty of things, even when I can't identify what species they are.

Probably Poplar Fieldcap, Cyclocybe cylindracea (by the entrance gate to the visitors centre)

Probably Pale Brittlestem, Candolleomyces candolleanus (by the entrance gate to the visitors centre)

Probably Smoky Bracket, Bjerkandera adusta (on a felled tree trunk beside the path by West Dean pond)

The beech woodland of Friston Forest

Amethyst Deceiver, Laccaria amethystina (photo from 09.11.23, taken on a recce for my visit on 10.11.23)

Probably Clouded Funnel, Clitocybe nebularis

Probably White Knight, Tricholoma album

Probably Lumpy Bracket, Trametes gibbosa, on a felled tree stump

Possibly Tricholoma argyraceum

Fairy Ring of White Knights

Possibly Wood Blewit Lepista nuda or Amethyst Deceiver, Laccaria amethystina



bottom of page