If you go down to the woods today, you're more likely to come across a forest floor rich with hedgehog mushrooms, winter chanterelles and wood blewits than a group of bears having a picnic. This year has been a particularly fruitful year for these fungi according to John Rensten, self-confessed ‘fungi fancier’ and founder of Forage London. ‘Chanterelle mushrooms have had an amazing year, especially in Scotland,’ he explains. ‘They have just fruited, fruited and fruited. I got to the point where I was sick of seeing pictures of friends in Scotland with huge baskets of yellow mushrooms.’ This has also been the case for the humble field mushroom, which has had two successful rounds of fruiting over the course of the year.
In fact, according to John, ‘you are always on the cusp of one thing and another. As one thing is going out of season, one thing is coming in. Everything is overlapping enormously'. The autumn in particular is the best and most prolific season for mushrooms, making hunting them the perfect pastime if you fancy getting outdoors and closer to nature. ‘People get off their phone and they get away from their computer screens,’ says John. ‘They go for a walk in the woods, pick a few mushrooms and everyone has a lovely day.’