This beginner-intermediate course will help you demystify identifying grasses, sedges and rushes! These are not the easiest plants to learn by yourself, so a weekend focusing on these in the presence of an expert tutor will help you expand this important botanical skill.

This course will include:

  • An introduction to the flowering parts and vegetative features of each family and associated vocabulary
  • Using a key to identify a members of the grass, sedge and rush families
  • Visits to a variety of habitats in which these families can be found
  • A small pressed collection of plants found to take home if you wish
  • Introduction to some indicator species

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Knowledge of grasses, sedges and rushes can help you to identify what national vegetation type you are standing in. During this course you will have the opportunity to visit a variety of habitats, including acid grassland/heathland, neutral grassland, basic flushes and woodland. You will dissect plants to observe flower parts and vegetative features, whilst also being introduced to using a variety of keys.

Who Should Attend? – This course is for people who simply want to know more about their surroundings, to those who are required to carry out botanical surveys.

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

Prior Knowledge – No previous knowledge is required, but those who know of some of the more common monocots may find the course easier.

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

  • Use relevant vocabulary to describe the flowering parts and vegetative features of plants in these three families
  • Feel more confident in using a key to identify a member of each of these families
  • Associate certain species with certain habitats
  • Display knowledge of useful tips for recognising a selection of some more common species
  • Display knowledge of some indicator species

PLEASE NOTE: There is no accommodation, refreshments, or meal facilities provided with this course. If we are unable to reach viable numbers for this course, we will inform you of the course cancellation 4-5 weeks prior to the course run. We would recommend when purchasing accommodation and/or travel you should take out your own insurance.

Bookings will close if course capacity is reached.

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

About the Tutor

Judith Allinson

Judith has taught Grasses, and Grasses, Sedges and Rushes courses at Field Studies Council centres for many years. She has carried out grassland survey work for Natural England and other organisations. She co-authored the Field Studies Council AIDGAP guide “A punched-card key to grasses in the vegetative state”, by Pankhurst and Allinson.

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give a clear outline of what to expect.

  • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 09:00 am
  • The course will end at 5:00 pm

Day 1

9.00 Assemble
9.15 Talk: Introduction to the structure of grass flowers
11.30 Walk: Close to the centre - to collect common grasses and rushes of  neutral and acid grassland/heathland
12.30 Lunch (in the field if suitable) - not included
13.30 Talk: Introduction to Rushes
14.00: Sort and press specimens
15:00 Talk: Introduction to Sedges
16:00 Either: Walk to look at neutral grassland and stream plants, or practice using keys
17:00 Depart

Day 2

9.00am Sedges
11.30 Leave Blencathra in shared transport arrive at Borrowdale: at the National Trust Kettlewell Car Park at the south end of Derwent Water
Walk: to look at Grasses, Sedges and Rushes in this wetland area
Picnic lunch - not included
Return to Blencathra
3pm: Sort specimens, press plants. Use Keys. Plenary.
5pm depart

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

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing an FSC course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

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.

Natural History Bursaries

There are a number of natural history bursaries available to help with the cost of your course. To find out if you and your chosen course are eligible, find out more here:

Before You Attend

What to bring:

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors

Recommended Literature

Opportunities to attend this course

This course is not currently available to book. Dates will follow soon.

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Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, delivered by expert tutors with an approachable 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.