The ‘changeable’ weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the dozen-or-so nature enthusiasts keen to learn what wildlife Tudeley Woods had to offer. Led by the very knowledgeable Ian Bevis from Tunbridge Wells Museum, the group followed the woodland trail around the Brakeybank area of Tudeley Woods.

Here are some of the species we found:

Berries of guelder rose (Viburnum opulus). An important source of food for birds at this time of year.

Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) is a relatively common member or the sedge family (Cyperaceae). It is popular in gardens but can be found in damp areas of woodlands on clay soils.

A little froglet (Rana temporaria) was hopping around our feet as Ian spoke to us about woodland management.

This pretty yellow flower is common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica). As the name suggests, this plant used to be used to driving away insects.

These are the leaves of a vetch (Vicia sp.) – a member of the pea family (Leguminosae). Those curly tendrils help this plant climb up other plants so it doesn’t have to invest in a rigid stalk, while still getting its flowers up high so that they can be pollinated by bees and other insects. It is also capable of creating its own nitrogen, where other plants have to find it in the soil. Evolution at its finest!

This handsome little fellow is a type of bolete (Leccinum sp.). Like all fungi it has roots called hyphae, forming an underground network called a mycelium. But unlike some mushrooms gets its food from the roots of trees in exchange for nutrients. It is more efficient at collecting nutrients than a tree is, but incapable of producing its own energy so they do a swap, which helps both tree and fungus.

This brilliantly coloured mushroom is an orange oak bolete (Leccinum quercinum). As the name suggests, it is found under oak trees, which are its chosen tree species for exchanging nutrients with energy.

The rooting bolete (Boletus radicans) is a great looking, stout, cream and yellow bolete that associates with oak and beech. When cut, the flesh on the inside turns from white to deep blue within seconds – amazing to see!

This wonderful blood-red bracket fungus is call a ‘beefsteak fungus’ because when cut, it resembles... well, a beefsteak. Complete with oozing blood! It is also edible and very tasty.

Finally, to wrap up with walk, we found a hornets’ nest. These large members of the wasp family are docile and will only sting you if you disturb their nest. We watched them flying in and out and they didn’t mind us getting close for some photos. They've used the hollow base of this tree and created their papery nest out of chewed-up wood.

So thanks to Ian and the Tunbridge Wells museum for leading this great wildlife walk. It was the last of four High Weald Walks at Tudeley Woods and Broadwater Warren this year but they will be back next year: http://www.tunbridgewellsmuseum.org

If you want to learn more about fungi, then join the RSPB on one of our fungus walks at Tudeley Woods and Broadwater Warren this autumn:

Tudeley Woods: http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-352330

Broadwater Warren: http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-352329

If you have any questions about Tudeley Woods then drop us a line: tudeley.woods@rspb.org.uk

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