It all began when the Bank in its wisdom decided that I and a group of fellow Branch Managers were no longer required and so we were offered ‘early’ retirement.

Joyce and I walk every day, come rain or shine, around Calderstones Park with our two Shelties. After a while we noticed that there appeared to be quite a lot of mushrooms so we referred to our nature books to find only about twenty very common fungi mentioned. Being at a loss as to how to identify these fungi we visited the Natural History Section of the Liverpool Museum and met Mike Palmer who had just started work there and was updating various data bases on the local flora and fauna. He showed us a selection of specialist books to use as field guides and the Roger Philips guide as a 'home bible'. He also promised to send a print-out of the current records of fungi at Calderstones Park. This duly arrived and consisted of 12 species recorded in 1982. Mike also told us that the Fungi Section of the North Western Naturalists’ Union [now the North West Fungus Group] were carrying out a Common Fungi Survey and perhaps we would like to try to record some of Calderstones’ fungi and that, as they say, is how it all began.

Harthill and Calderstones Park is situated in South Liverpool at map reference SJ 403877. It is approximately mile by mile and encompasses the grounds of two adjacent former ‘stately’ homes. Harthill was the estate of a famous Liverpool merchant William Brown. There are no longer any buildings and the area is mainly grass and wide borders with many trees scattered about. Calderstones was the home of the McIver family who owned the Cunard Company of sailing ships. It comprises a large Mansion House, extensive stables and a lake of approximate two acres. The whole estate was fully landscaped with over two thousand trees many of them quite rare. The Park is famous internationally for its Rhododendrons and specimen trees. There are many Oaks and Beeches that are several hundred years old. The House and Stables are now occupied by the Recreation and Open Spaces Departments of the Liverpool City Council.

From the above description you will have gathered that the Park is composed of many totally different areas and is home to quite a number of fungi. We started to record in 1991 and armed with cameras, a microscope and text books we were able to positively identify 71 species. In 1992 we found a further 54 new species and a total of 113 fungi. We were quite delighted to have overtaken the Museum records of 12.

At this time the Park developed a policy of clearing up fallen branches and pruning the older trees. They purchased an enormous shredding machine and spread the end product along the paths around the Park. They also brought in supplies from other local parks. This helped to produce a further 37 new species in 1993. The shredded wood was so successful in supressing the weeds on the paths that the Council imported many tons of shredded bark from Scotland and spread it all around the shrubberies and formal gardens.

As a result of this exercise several new fungi appeared in 1994, some quite foreign to our area. Naturally many of the ‘new’ fungi did not re-appear in 1995 but some have successfully established and are spreading quite rapidly. The best of these imports has been Cyathus olla (Birds nest fungus) which now covers three areas of several square yards.

1995 started well but with the extended dry weather fruit bodies failed to appear and we found only 12 new species bringing our grand total to 208 different fruit bodies in five years. The very dry season seemed to affect the Boletes and Russulas the most. It was certainly very helpful to have our previous records and sites to refer to as many were badly misshapen and oversize. Amongst the 1995 list we found Psilocybe cyanescens, but as the park is surrounded by secondary schools we kept our find to ourselves.

We have found some very nice specimens which Mike has freeze-dried for the Museum displays. There are still many LBJs (little brown jobs) which we have been unable to identify with any degree of certainty. Over the years we have built up albums of photographs and slides and a large number of spore prints. We are now known as ‘the mushroom people’ and most of the Park Gardeners and fellow dog walkers stop us to tell us where they have found some more mushrooms to identify. I have to admit that if it wasn’t for Joyce’s persistence in carrying her field note book at all times and meticulously recording everything seen our records would be nowhere near as complete as they are.

At the 1995 AGM Professor Whalley who spoke on Xylaria and showed a slide of Xylaria carpophila growing on old beech mast, so off we set next day and sure enough there they were quite widespread under the very old beech trees.

Calderstones divides up quite conveniently into ten areas (shown in the plan) which helps in locating fruit-bodies. If anyone wants further information, we have lists going back to 1991.


Latin Name Common Name Date Ref.
Agaricus arvensis Horse Mushroom 30.09.95 B
A. campestris Field Mushroom 12.09.95 BG
Agrocybe erebia   13.10.95 A
Agrocybe praecox   26.05.95 Widespread
Amanita muscaria Fly Agaric 30.09.95 CGF
A. rubescens The Blusher 26.05.95 Widespread
Armillaria mellea Honey Fungus 08.10.95 Widespread
A. polymyces   13.10.95 G
Auricularia auricula-judae Judas Ear 07.10.95 G
Bjerkandera adusta   20.11.95 J
Boletus chrysenteron Red Cracked Bolete 01.10.95 FG
B. erythropus   27.07.95 F
B. porospurus   13.10.95 F
Calocera cornea   20.11.95 J
Chondrostereum purpureum Purple Violet Bracket 20.11.95 J
Clitocybe nebularis Clouded Agaric 22.11.95 BJ
Clitocybe odora Aniseed Toadstool 27.09.95 G
Collybia butyracea* Butter Cap 08.10.95 I
Coprinus comatus Shaggy Ink Cap 14.09.95 Widespread
C. congregatus*   26.05.95 J
C. lagopides   15.11.95 J
C. lagopus Fringed Crumble Cap 01.04.95 Widespread
C. micaceus Glistening Ink Cap 24.04.95 HJ
C. plicatilis Little Japanese Umbrella 06.09.95 C
C. silvaticus*   07.09.95 J
Cortinarius ochroleucus   27.10.95 J
Cyathus olla Birds Nest Fungus 07.09.95 J
Cylindrobasidium evolvens   12.09.95 I
Fistulina hepatica Beefsteak Fungus 07.09.95 AG
Fomes fomentarius Hoof Fungus 24.08.95 G
Ganoderma adspersum*   29.08.95 A
Hebeloma crustuliniforme Poison Pie Fungus 01.10.95 AE
Helvella crispa Brain Fungus 18.10.95 A
Hygrocybe ceracea   15.10.95 I
Hygrophorus hygrothejus Herald of Winter 17.11.95 F
Hypholoma fasciculare Sulphur Tuft 07.09.95 ADJ
Inocybe fastigiata   28.09.95 AF
I. flocculosa   07.09.95 FJ
Laccaria laccata The Deceiver 07.10.95 I
Lacrymaria velutina Weeping Widow 12.09.95 J
Lactarius azonites*   17.11.95 G
L. blennius   15.10.95 F
L. turpis Ugly Milk Cap 08.10.95 F
Laetiporus sulphureus Sulphur Polypore 28.09.95 CH
Leccinum scabrum Brown Birch Bolete 22.10.95 F
Lepiota cristata Stinking Parasol 22.10.95 J
L. procera Parasol Mushroom 13.10.95 G
L. rhacodes Shaggy Parasol 11.10.95 GJ
Lepista nuda Wood Blewit 07.10.95 J
Lycoperdon pyriforme Pear-Shaped Puff Ball 30.09.95 LJ
Lyophyllum decastes Fried Chicken Fungus 03.10.95 GJ
Marasmius oreades Fairy Ring Mushroom 06.09.95 J
M. rotula*   07.09.95 J
Melanoleuca cognata   08.10.95 LJ
M. melaleuca   03.10.95 J
Meripilus giganteus Giant Polypore 01.09.95 FI
Mycena aetites   21.11.95 F
M. fibula   15.10.95 G
M. flavoalba*   07.09.95 J
M. galericulata Bonnet Mycena 30.09.95 A
M. polygramma*   22.10.95 J
Nectria cinnabarina Coral Spot Fungus 07.09.95 EJ
Oudemansiella radicata Rooting Shank 07.09.95 EJ
Panaeolina foenisecii Brown Hat Cap 14.06.95 B
P. rickenii   20.11.95 J
Paxillus involutus Brown Roll Rim 01.10.95 F
Phellinus igniarius   22.11.95 DF
Phlebia mersimoides   20.11.95 J
Pholiota carbonaria Charcoal Pholiota 01.04.95 Widespread
P. squarrosa Shaggy Pholiota 30.09.95 CI
Piptoporus betulinus Birch Polopore 07.09.95 G
Pluteus cervinus Fawn Pluteus 30.09.95 AGJ
P. cornucopiae*   29.08.95 G
P. depauperatus   26.05.95 G
Polyporus squamosus Dryads Saddle 17.11.95 G
Psathyrella conopilus   07.09.95 J
P. hydrophila   08.10.95 J
P. microrhiza   07.09.95 ABJ
P. multipedata   26.05.95 J
Psilocybe cyanescens*   15.11.95 G
Russula atropurpurea Blackish Purple Russula 07.10.95 EI
R. cyanoxantha The Charcoal Burner 01.10.95 BFG
R. erythropus   15.10.95 F
R. fellea Geranium scented Russula 22.10.95 G
R. foetans Foetid Russula 07.10.95 I
R. fragilis Fragile Russula 22.10.95 E
R. ionochlora   25.09.95 E
R. mairei Beechwood Sickener 22.10.95 G
R. olivacea   15.10.95 F
R. parazurea   03.10.95 EJ
R. sororia*   27.07.95 EJ
Scleroderma citrinum Common Earth Ball 28.09.95 EG
Trametes versicolor Many Zoned Polypore 26.05.95 AJ
Tricholoma gambosum*   31.05.95 J
T. saponaceum Soap Tricholoma 26.05.95 I
Tubaria furfuracea   27.02.95 FJ
Volvariella speciosa   26.05.95 J
Xylaria carpophila*   27.02.95 G
X. hypoxylon Candle Snuff Fungus 03.10.95 GJ
X. polymorpha Dead Mans Fingers 07.09.95 J

List compiled on 08.12.95

101 species in total including 12 new species found this year (identified by asterisks). A grand total of 208 species have been identified during the last five years.

Map of Calderstones Park

Calderstones Park

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