The signs of autumn were all around as I made my way up the track from Alloa Park to Clackmannan – black-glistened brambles, crimson guelder berries and turning leaves. And, then there was the quietness, so very peaceful, with not a hint of birdsong.

This is a pleasant walk that follows the course of the River Black Devon; a place of wych elms, elders and many other types of tree and bush, ensuring vibrancy and diversity to the environment. There were precious few plants left in flower, but one that caught the eye was yellow-bloomed ragwort standing like a lone sentinel. A few final pink-petalled red campions were also hanging-on.

In flower, too, was angelica, a froth of white flowers arranged in an umbrella head. Angelica is so-called because its name is derived from the ‘angelic’ or ‘heavenly’ properties attributed to it. Indeed, herbalists in the past regarded it as a universal remedy plant, having the ability to treat a wide variety of ailments.

Then, I spotted a glimmering on the ground some distance away from the path, glowing like a nugget of gold. I ventured over and found a most stunning clump of yellow stagshorn fungus. Its scientific nomenclature (Calocera viscosa) translates roughly as ‘beautiful and waxy with a sticky surface’, which is an entirely appropriate name for this most stunning little fungus.

Fungi quite simply underpin the natural world, for they are recyclers, nutrient providers for plants and support every type of habitat there is. Many have developed mutually beneficial relationships with trees and without fungi our woodlands would be much impoverished places.