Pinkworthy and Driver Farm proposed Site of Special Scientific Interest. Grassland Fungi Assessment.

Published online
31 Aug 2022
Published by
Natural England
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McLay, A.

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The present survey took place in 2017 and 2018 and was carried out to ascertain whether the site fully met the recently revised SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) criteria (JNCC 2018) for grassland fungi in the Pinkworthy (Pinkery) and Driver Farm landholding situated within Exmoor National Park in England, UK. Some additional fields or parts of fields were also surveyed and all areas were visited on three separate occasions. Each grassland unit was surveyed in its entirety provided that suitable habitat for CHEGD (Clavariaceae, Hygrocybe, Entoloma, Geoglossaceae, Dermoloma) fungi was deemed to be present. A total of 24 waxcap species were recorded during the present survey. The majority of CHEGD fungi records made during the present survey were located on the grassland slopes of a series of small stream valleys which dissect the landholding. It should be noted that during the present survey the majority of finds and all records of notable species were made within the grassland units outside of the existing SSSI parcels. Few CHEGD species were found in this survey in any of the four SSSI grassland units identified by Thompson and it is apparent that these areas must have been more intensively grazed at that time. A reduction in grazing intensity within these open heathland habitats is no bad thing and should be generally welcomed. Small pockets of acidic grassland may revert to heath in the long term but the key areas of enclosed waxcap grassland within the landholding should remain unaffected.

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