OCTOBER is the month when the woods play host to a quirky magical kingdom, a colourful world of unfamiliar shapes and hues where every rotting tree stump suddenly seems to be coated in new life.
This is the time of the year for fungus forays and foraging, when the leaf litter is suddenly awash with mushrooms and toadstools, brackets and puffballs, mosses and lichens.
Our picture choice is one of a series of startling shots taken by photographer Gel Murphy and featured in our monthly calendar feature about the Chilterns.
Of course mankind has always been fascinated by the folklore surrounding fungi, by their healing powers and deadly dangers.
We’ve written before of our fascination with these amazing organisms, with their spine-tingling names and beautiful shapes and colours, and we’ve even set out on a quest to find out more about how to identify the most common types.
But with literally millions of species of fungi on the Earth – as many as 10 times the estimated number of plant species – there’s plenty more to discover!