10 October 2017

A cultural organisation based in Peebles, Scottish Borders

Tweeddale Society logoPanoramic view of Peebles

What we can learn about fungi from Beatrix Potter


Professor Roy Watling



Professor Watling set up the first ever Fungal Biodiversity Sanctuary at Dawyck near Peebles, an extension of his love of fungi, something which drew him to interacting with the early studies of Beatrix Potter. Most people know Beatrix as purely the author of children’s stories; few know or appreciate that she was a keen natural historian. She was passionate about fungi of all kinds, even microscopic forms, spending many hours illustrating them from nature, and more importantly, studying how the spores germinate and develop.

Roy’s talk will develop these facts and show how she pre-empted some of the world’s most important mycologists in the observations she made. He will emphasise that people should take a lesson from her ‘book’ and observe nature carefully.

Beatrix Potter at her home in the English Lake DistrictProfessor Roy Watling

Beatrix Potter at her home in the English Lake District

Roy Watling was Head of Mycology & Plant Pathology at the Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, until his retirement. He was awarded the Patrick Neal Medal by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and, for his work in field studies and documentation of Scottish fungi, was awarded in 2012 the first ‘Nature In Scotland Outstanding Contribution’ and also the first Jane Smart Plantlife International award for contributions to fungal conservation.  He has authored several books and numerous scientific articles.