EPPING FOREST: 'Celebrity chefs are destroying our forest'

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Forest keeper Tristan Vetta with the latest haul of foraged mushrooms Forest keeper Tristan Vetta with the latest haul of foraged mushrooms

CELEBRITY chefs who encourage mushroom picking have been named as a new problem facing the authorities in Epping Forest.

The City of London Corporation has been catching record numbers of illegal fungi pickers on its land and has said TV chefs who encourage wild foraging are partly to blame.

Senior forest keeper Jonathan Preston said: “One of the biggest problems we have got is a real issue with celebrity chefs promoting mushroom picking. Jamie Oliver and people like that.

“Epping Forest is right next to London and it's not like a forest in the middle of Dorset where you might get ten people there at the weekend.

“You can usually identify people because they're carrying plastic bags. We caught one person with five carrier bags full. We think there's a possible trend for commercial picking because a lot of what they pick is poisonous and we think they might be taking it back to a central place for sorting.”

More than 100lbs worth of mushrooms were confiscated last weekend by forest keepers in the latest crackdown on the activity.

The City of London Corporation, which maintains Epping Forest, has said the rise in fungi foragers is harming the delicate ecology of the land.

Forest services manager, Keith French said “Fungi play a vital role in the ecology of all natural habitats. They are natures recyclers as they break down organic matter from plants and animals. “Many creatures feed on fungi and they are host to some rare invertebrates that are unique to these ancient woodlands.”

The corporation carried out one prosecution for mushroom picking last year and already has six pending so far in 2010.

It has also issued around 20 formal warning to people this year.

Comments (14)

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6:38pm Fri 8 Oct 10

Eppingforest1234 says...

I don't think i've seen an alive mushroom in the forest yet, I have only seen decapitated ones. Its a real shame.
I don't think i've seen an alive mushroom in the forest yet, I have only seen decapitated ones. Its a real shame. Eppingforest1234
  • Score: 0

11:53pm Fri 8 Oct 10

rubberneck says...

“You can usually identify people because they're carrying plastic bags"

What a stereotype! The person may be carrying a plastic bag to pick up a doggy doo doo? Or may actually want to doo doo in the bag as there are no longer any kharzi's about?
“You can usually identify people because they're carrying plastic bags" What a stereotype! The person may be carrying a plastic bag to pick up a doggy doo doo? Or may actually want to doo doo in the bag as there are no longer any kharzi's about? rubberneck
  • Score: 0

8:01am Sat 9 Oct 10

Havering says...

In the forest I back onto it's the Eastern Europeans who are taking all the mushrooms as they know they can get a good price for it. Along with the rabbits they're shooting etc
In the forest I back onto it's the Eastern Europeans who are taking all the mushrooms as they know they can get a good price for it. Along with the rabbits they're shooting etc Havering
  • Score: 0

8:02am Sat 9 Oct 10

Havering says...

In the forest I back onto it's the Eastern Europeans who are taking all the mushrooms as they know they can get a good price for it. Along with the rabbits they're shooting etc
In the forest I back onto it's the Eastern Europeans who are taking all the mushrooms as they know they can get a good price for it. Along with the rabbits they're shooting etc Havering
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Sat 9 Oct 10

inézc says...

There are a lot of mushrooms in the forest at this time of the year but where fungi is concerned, picking your own can be a risky business. I would rather not even attempt it.
There are a lot of mushrooms in the forest at this time of the year but where fungi is concerned, picking your own can be a risky business. I would rather not even attempt it. inézc
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Sat 9 Oct 10

everhard says...

you are wiser to buy them from sainsburys plus you will get your nectar points
you are wiser to buy them from sainsburys plus you will get your nectar points everhard
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Sun 10 Oct 10

Morris Hickey says...

Nectar points - how sweet!
Nectar points - how sweet! Morris Hickey
  • Score: 0

9:15pm Sun 10 Oct 10

word of mouth says...

rubberneck wrote:
“You can usually identify people because they're carrying plastic bags" What a stereotype! The person may be carrying a plastic bag to pick up a doggy doo doo? Or may actually want to doo doo in the bag as there are no longer any kharzi's about?
I wouldn't want to be walking in the woods and come acroos someone pooping in a Tesco bag.
The Mushroom picking is a problem and the city of london cut backs will not help matters.
[quote][p][bold]rubberneck[/bold] wrote: “You can usually identify people because they're carrying plastic bags" What a stereotype! The person may be carrying a plastic bag to pick up a doggy doo doo? Or may actually want to doo doo in the bag as there are no longer any kharzi's about?[/p][/quote]I wouldn't want to be walking in the woods and come acroos someone pooping in a Tesco bag. The Mushroom picking is a problem and the city of london cut backs will not help matters. word of mouth
  • Score: 0

7:56am Mon 11 Oct 10

Mogsta says...

It's nothing to do with "clebrity chefs" it's East Europeans - typical how the the media is manipulated to ensure the immigrants don't get the blame and, therefore, ensure that the indigenous people don't get too angry. It is the same with school places: we all know the real reason for lack of primary places is due to immigration, but the media tell us it is duw to middle calss parents taking there kids out of private education. Wake up people - you are being lied to on a grand scale.
It's nothing to do with "clebrity chefs" it's East Europeans - typical how the the media is manipulated to ensure the immigrants don't get the blame and, therefore, ensure that the indigenous people don't get too angry. It is the same with school places: we all know the real reason for lack of primary places is due to immigration, but the media tell us it is duw to middle calss parents taking there kids out of private education. Wake up people - you are being lied to on a grand scale. Mogsta
  • Score: 1

12:38pm Mon 11 Oct 10

Quickexit says...

I've got weeds in my garden. The media tells us that weeds are due to lack of weeding, but they are lying - immigrants are going into my garden at night and planting the weeds to chase me out of my house.
I've got weeds in my garden. The media tells us that weeds are due to lack of weeding, but they are lying - immigrants are going into my garden at night and planting the weeds to chase me out of my house. Quickexit
  • Score: 1

12:55pm Mon 11 Oct 10

Mogsta says...

Quickexit - it is people like you ignoring the threat that will lead to the demise of the indigenous people. You may be happy to be a monority in your own country, but I am not.
Quickexit - it is people like you ignoring the threat that will lead to the demise of the indigenous people. You may be happy to be a monority in your own country, but I am not. Mogsta
  • Score: -1

4:16pm Mon 11 Oct 10

Quickexit says...

Mogsta wrote:
Quickexit - it is people like you ignoring the threat that will lead to the demise of the indigenous people. You may be happy to be a monority in your own country, but I am not.
So, the threat to the 'indigenous' population comes from hoardes of Slovakians come over here to eat all our mushrooms?
[quote][p][bold]Mogsta[/bold] wrote: Quickexit - it is people like you ignoring the threat that will lead to the demise of the indigenous people. You may be happy to be a monority in your own country, but I am not.[/p][/quote]So, the threat to the 'indigenous' population comes from hoardes of Slovakians come over here to eat all our mushrooms? Quickexit
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Mon 11 Oct 10

everhard says...

The mushroom asked a girl for a dance she said you must be kidding you are a mushroom he replied oh come on i am a FUN GUY.
The mushroom asked a girl for a dance she said you must be kidding you are a mushroom he replied oh come on i am a FUN GUY. everhard
  • Score: 0

9:54am Mon 25 Oct 10

Redfox says...

Lost opportunity here for the news report to carry details of the Epping Forest bye-laws, long established to set out what you can carry away from the forest, and what you can not!
A good example would be about "loose" or broken wood & branches. Fires & barbeques is another. My particular wish for a new bye-law would be to see the complete ban on speeding cyclists & competitive cycle racing (yes there actually is some!) promoted by the cycle shop at Highams Park. BUZZ ORF and take your chances on the Epping 'Death Mile' High Road.
Lost opportunity here for the news report to carry details of the Epping Forest bye-laws, long established to set out what you can carry away from the forest, and what you can not! A good example would be about "loose" or broken wood & branches. Fires & barbeques is another. My particular wish for a new bye-law would be to see the complete ban on speeding cyclists & competitive cycle racing (yes there actually is some!) promoted by the cycle shop at Highams Park. BUZZ ORF and take your chances on the Epping 'Death Mile' High Road. Redfox
  • Score: 0

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