Summer rainfall could lead to bumper year for rare Calderdale fungi

A special National Trust project to study rare fungi in Calderdale could have a bumper first  year, if rainfall continues this summer.

Sunday, 8th August 2021, 8:00 am
Steve Hindle, Grassland Fungi Project Officer. Picture: National Trust Images/Victoria Holland.

The ‘Grassland Fungi Project’, which will study species like Meadow Waxcaps, Violet Coral and Deceptive Earthtongue, aims to find out how widely spread the fungi are.

The steep valley sides and high rainfall means that some of the rarest fungi in the world are found in Calderdale.

Grassland fungi are important for biodiversity. They provide nutrients for plants which support insects, birds and mammals. They also indicate good soil health, which means the fields where they grow are better at slowing the flow of water and reducing flood risk.

Scarlet Waxcap. Pic: National Trust Images/Victoria Holland

Grassland fungi project officer, Steve Hindle, said, “Although a wet summer might not be to everyone’s taste, fungi absolutely love damp conditions. We’re very lucky to have some incredibly rare species in Calderdale, and some of them have already begun to appear in the fields around Hardcastle Crags. Now we want to see what’s thriving on other landowner’s grasslands too.”

The ‘Grassland Fungi Project’, led by the National Trust in partnership with the Colne and Calder Rivers Trusts, aims to survey grasslands throughout Calderdale to find out more about where the fungi are thriving. As well as providing free surveys, the National Trust wants to help landowners access potential future grants to keep their grasslands in top condition.

Steve Hindle said: “Waxcaps have unfortunately been lost in many other parts of the country due to changes in land management. In Calderdale, we’re really fortunate that so many still grow here. The role of fungi in ecosystems is fascinating. They aren’t as well studied as other plants and wildlife.

"They have the potential to help us in our fight against climate change, disease and protecting our pollinators. This year we have a great opportunity to learn more about how they’re benefiting our ecosystems in Calderdale.”