Lakeside Lodge Golf Centre - Fen Road, Pidley, Huntingdon, PE28 3DF
The Lakeside Gold Centre at Pidley is central to the areas we will be visiting. The lodges are situated around a small lake and the areas around the lodges and lake have previously been known to produce some interesting fungi.
The BMS held a very successful study week in the autumn of 2013 based at the Lakeside Golf Centre and we are now returning there to study the spring fungi, As with all spring events the Ascomycetes are expected to predominate and the fens for which this areas is famous are expected to provide excellent habitats for these fungi, Wicken Fen for example has over 600 species of fungi recorded. There are also splendid areas of damp woodland within reach of the venue.
Most of the fenland lies within a few metres of sea level and most originally consisted of fresh- or salt-water wetlands, which have been artificially drained and continue to be protected from floods by drainage banks and pumps. With the support of this drainage system, the fenland has become a major arable agricultural region in Britain for grains and vegetables. The fens are particularly fertile, containing around half of the Grade 1 agricultural land in England. As a result of drainage and the subsequent shrinkage of the peat fens, many parts of the fens now lie below mean sea level. Holme Fen is the lowest land in the United Kingdom, at around 2.75 metres below sea level. In 2003, the 'Great Fen Project' was initiated to return parts of the fens to their original pre-agricultural state. The current approach is to allow a little farmland to be flooded with fresh-water and turned into nature reserves. The project hope to encourage species such as the snipe, lapwing and bittern, and endangered species such as the fen violet.
Hans Otto Baral (aka. Zotto Baral) has been working on Ascomycete fungi for many years and is now considered to be one of the most knowledgeable Ascomycete mycologists in Europe.