Did you know that there are over 1,500 species of fungi in London? We will look for different species of fungi and examine their amazing life-histories. The introductory talk followed by a walk, will help you with basic identification techniques. This course will not teach you how to forage fungi for food, although where relevant, edibility and toxicity will be discussed. Course fee includes FSC fold-out chart: The fungi name trail.

Fungi grow in almost every imaginable niche, from tropical jungles to polar ice caps and our own temperate woods and fields, they are even found in the sea. Many species play an important role supporting the health of plants, others are significant tree and plant killers or essential ‘mopper-uppers’ of decaying material in the environment. Without fungi our environment would come to a halt pretty quickly! Field identification of fungi is often made easier by the use of chemical tests undertaken only by the tutor.

By the end of this course, participants will have:

  • examined specimens of fungi from different groups and habitats
  • practiced identification of fungi using standard field guides and identification handouts

Tutor: Mark Spencer

Mark Spencer did his PhD on the evolution of oomycetes and has a long-standing interest in field mycology. He is an experienced botanist and is the vascular plant recorder for the LNHS and BSBI Middlesex vice-county recorder. He has research and personal interest in 17th and 18th botanical science, urban botany, non-natives and the impacts of environmental change.

Example Timetable

09:30 Registration
10:00 Welcome, health and safety and introduction
10:30 Walk in Epping Forest: Field identification, collection of specimens
12:30 Lunch
13:30 Identification of fungi collected in the morning session
15:30 Summary - a chance to ask question
15:50 Taking your interest further and course reviews
16:00 Course finishes

All timings are approximate. This is an outline programme and may be subject to change according to the weather, requirements of the group or access restrictions to field sites on the day of the course. Our courses include some classroom sessions but field visits may be a few hours long and involve walking over uneven ground.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Sensible clothing for the weather
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Lunch and Drinks (refreshments are provided)


  • Your favourite fungi field guide