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Rules of the Game

Always keep in mind that the countryside can be unforgiving. Woodlands may throw all kinds of hazards at the unwary: low branches, hidden roots, gullies full of leaves, excavations with steep sides, slippery paths, and falling timber, especially if there are beeches and it's windy.

So Where am I?

If you are out in the woods, whether on your own or in a group, let someone know where you have gone and when you expect to be back. If foraying alone, get orientated. Remember where the paths are and, if the wood is large, carry a pocket satnav and, preferably a compsass with you. Managed woodlands often display site maps at the entrances.

What to Wear

Take sensible clothing and unless it is extremely dry, a pair of wellies because woodlands are often muddy. The right garments should not snag up on every branch and prickle. The autumn season can be very changeable so a warm sweater, even if tied round your waist, is advisable.


The Trust supplies a range of stains and reagents for the use of its full members. Some of these involve highly corrosive chemicals including acids. Never take these on a foray! It is acceptable to carry such basic reagents as ferrous sulphate, Guaiac and other comparatively innocuous materials. They should be kept in the bottles provided with labels intact.   Never decant chemicals into other containers.  Sstains and reagents are always correctly labelled, in suitable containers, and accompanied by Health and Safety sheets.

What Kind of Kit?

A flat trug-type basket is indispensible gear. Never try to collect fungus specimens in poly bags or boxes because the fungi will sweat and deteriorate very quickly. Another useful item is a x10 hand lens. If you intend to carry a field guide, make sure it's a pocket version and preferably give it a waterproof cover. It is also advisable to carry a mobile 'phone as well as the compass and/or satnav. Getting lost is very easy if you are concentrating on fungi rather than where you are going and the middle of a wood can look pretty much the same in every direction!

Choice of Implements

A knife is an advisable asset but Home Office rules dictate that the knife must be of a certain type. To be absolutely within the law it should be a folding penknife with a blade not exceeding 3". Lock knives and spring knives are illegal and don't ever bring a kitchen knife! If, however, you are an FCT member, there are certain exceptions to the rules. Talk to us.

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