STARTING on the Devon Way just by the Devonvale Hall in Tillicoultry, I cut down towards the River Devon and crossed over the red bridge and headed up towards the remnants of the old Bessie Glen coal mine.

I stooped down and clawed the soil with my fingers, revealing tiny fragments of coal.

I was standing upon an old spoil heap, yet nature had largely consumed these past industrial workings, leaving behind only traces of how the landscape once looked.

Birch, sycamore, ash, alder and willow all abounded. I find this inherent ability of nature to reclaim past losses so reassuring.

Coal was mined in this area extensively until the mid-1960s but today it is wildness that reigns supreme.

The clamour of the colliery now replaced by the gentle winter warble of a nearby robin.

I followed the track for a bit longer, and on an elder branch by the path edge, jelly-ear fungus thrived.

It is a strange-looking fungus, which I'm told, once cooked, has a bland taste with little to recommend it.

Down at my feet on a rotten log, a cluster of turkeytail fungus shone out at me, providing a splash of colour that was most eye-catching.

On the same log there was also hairy curtain crust fungus, which looks very similar to turkeytail, but is smaller and more subtle.

I brushed my fingertips across these tiers of fungal growth, awestruck by their beauty and complexity of form.

Fungi quite simply make the natural world go around – they are recyclers, nutrient providers for plants and underpin every type of habitat there is.

Many have developed mutually beneficial relationships with trees and without fungi our woodlands would be much impoverished.

As such, fungi should be revered and cherished; their infinite variety being one of nature's true wonders.