This beginner bryophytes course is a great place to start for those taking their first steps into the world of mosses, liverworts and hornworts.

During this course, you will gain a better understanding of this diverse group, all under the guidance of an engaging and knowledgeable expert in the field.  You will learn about their biology and ecology and have ample time to explore your surrounding environment.  You will have a chance to see different types of mosses and liverworts, collect specimens and learn basic field identification tips. With over half of all European moss, liverwort and hornwort species present in the UK, there is so much to explore!

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During this course, will gain a better understanding of this diverse group, all under the guidance of an engaging and knowledgeable expert in the field. You will learn about their biology and ecology and have ample time to explore your surrounding environment to find some specimens, learning valuable observational field identification tips. Mosses are a comparatively neglected group but they have much to offer, being at their best in winter and are sensitive to soil and habitat conditions.

What will be covered during this course?

  • An introduction to bryophyte biology
  • An introduction to bryophyte ecology
  • An overview of the species diversity within the UK
  • Please note that this course is NOT a species identification course

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe which groups of organisms are classified as bryophytes and what makes them different from all other plants
  • Understand the basics of bryophyte lifecycles and reproductive strategies and structures
  • Describe bryophyte habitats and their environmental conditions
  • Recognise groups of common bryophytes in their natural environments
  • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers.

Who Should Attend? – Nature enthusiasts, students, rangers, early career consultants and ecologists.

Knowledge Level – Introductory. Level descriptors can be found on the following web-page: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge – No existing knowledge or experience is needed for this course. Just a willingness to explore and learn.

About the Tutor

Pete Howarth

Pete is the London Natural History Society bryophyte recorder, has studied bryophyte for over 10 years and has been an elected member of the Council of the British Bryological Society.

Example Timetable

*Please note this is a provisional timetable. Plans may change dependent on weather, the Field Centre and group preference.

10:00am - Introductions
10:15am - Classroom session covering: Introduction to mosses
11:00am - Break and prepare for field session - refreshments not provided during the course
11:15am - Guided walk
12:30pm- Lunch – not included
1:30pm - Practical identification and use of key from material collected
3:00pm - Break
3:15pm - Assemble spreadsheet of finds and discuss ecology, further work in the lab with microscopes
4:30pm - Classroom plenary and final questions
5:00pm - Finish

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression


  • ★★★★★

    Very skilled tutor who is an excellent teacher

  • ★★★★★

    Excellent (the tutor) was very helpful and provided the guidance needed when starting this area of study.

Bursaries and Subsidies

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Before You Attend

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Camera or phone to capture images
  • Refreshments & pack lunch
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Hand lens (if you have one)

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Sat 25, March 2023 10:00 - 17:00

    South East
    Pete Howarth

Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, including online course materials, expert tuition and a flexible learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions or email [email protected].

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Click here to find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.