When I looked closely, there were a few of these mushrooms scattered over a patch a metre or so wide, and a couple growing in a little clump. But most of the others were looking very old and dried up.
The first thing I noticed was the deep depression at the centre of the cap.
It was growing up through leaf-litter and I decided I'd better dig it up for a closer look, revealing this tough, fibrous and twisted stem, rooted in the ground. At the base, white mycelia disappeared into the soil.
Stem and cap are a tan colour, with dusky pink gills.
I was pretty sure these features put me in the realms of the Laccaria – The Deceivers. The key to the Laccaria in Funga Nordica is only three pages long. Joy!
One of the features the key asks me to look at is the 'basidia'. This is a new term for me: basidia are spore-bearing structures, as illustrated by this handy image from wikipedia.
This is really hard! Especially when I haven't got any stains yet, which means everything just looks white. But I think the blurry structure in the middle of this photo might just be a 4-spored basidia.
I also checked out the spores, which look pleasingly spiky and spherical, like this:
Am reasonably confident all this takes me to The Deceiver Laccaria laccata.
For the record
Location: Horton Wood, Small Dole
Grid reference: TQ208127 (site centroid)