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ForestHarvest: non-timber forest products in Scotland

GATHERING - Harvesting Guidelines


The Scottish Wild Mushroom Code

The countryside is a working landscape. Please be aware of your own safety and follow the countryside and access codes. In accordance with this code there are some instances, e.g. commercial harvest, where you must make contact with the land manager before you collect mushrooms.

By respecting the natural environment you can help to manage and conserve the countryside. When collecting mushrooms for any purpose, please consider the following points:

What to collect

  • Wildlife, especially insects, need mushrooms too, so only pick what you will use.
  • Some mushrooms are poisonous and others rare and should not be collected – only collect what you know and take a field guide with you to identify mushrooms where you find them.
  • Some species are vulnerable, so please consider whether there is an alternative species that is more common that might suit your purpose.

How to collect

  • Allow mushrooms to release spores, do not pick mushrooms until the cap has opened out and leave those that are past their best.
  • The main part of the mushroom is below the surface; take care not to damage or trample it and not to disturb its surroundings.
  • Scatter trimmings discreetly in the same area as the mushroom came from.

Where to collect

  • Before you collect mushrooms at a nature reserve please always seek advice from the manager, as special conditions may apply.
    Visit to find out more about protected areas in Scotland

If you own or manage land

  • Mushrooms are a critical part of the natural cycle in grassland and woodlands; if these are compromised all elements of the ecosystem will be affected. Be aware that your management activities may affect mushrooms.

If you run a foray or collect for scientific purposes remember to:

  • Ensure the safety of your party; make contact with the land manager in advance of your visit.
  • Give a record of what you have found to the land manager and explain the significance of your findings.
Photo - chanterelle mushrooms

The Scottish Wild Mushroom Code is available as an A4 flyer

Thumbnail image of the Scottish Wild Mushroom Code leaflet - click on the image to view a larger version

Copies of the leaflet are available from:

Dr Dave Genney
Scottish Natural Heritage
Great Glen House
Leachkin Road

Tel: 01463 725253

Or click here to email Dave Genney

You can also download a low-ink version from the SNH website:
Scottish Wild Mushroom code (English version)
Scottish Wild Mushroom code (Polski version)

More on mushrooms

Logos of the 2010 Scottish Wild Mushroom Code partners - Scottish Natural Heritage, Plantlife, Reforesting Scotland, British Mycological Society, Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, Forestry Commission Scotland

The code was created by the Scottish Wild Mushroom Forum, a group consisting of representatives of conservation organisations, landowners, public landowning bodies, mushroom buyers and mushroom pickers. The creation of the Forum and the Code was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, the Millennium Forest for Scotland Trust and Moray, Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise.