Scarlet Elf Cups

I went for a walk in the nature reserve at Knocksink Woods the other day. It was my first time there, well actually, my second time. The first-time last October, I was on crutches so couldn’t get out of the car. This time we walked along the river for about 3km, through ancient native woodlands, in a very beautiful, steep gorge. The valley sides were covered in wild life tracks, massive beech trees and lots of gushing streams. It is a lovely looped walk but wear boots or wellies because it is understandably muddy in places.

I found these pretty little fungi called Scarlet Elf Cups almost immediately and then everywhere we looked we saw them peeping out from under leaf mould and perched on fallen deadwood.

This is their perfect environment - humous rich, damp deciduous woods. They seem to love moss covered dead trees and the contrast between the vibrant green and the scarlet fungi is really wonderful especially in mid January!

Some people say it is edible and use it to hold tasty morsels others say it is edible but not worthwhile. Either way, it is so pretty, it seems a shame to pick it!

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