Fungi are fundamental decomposers and recyclers that become abundant in Autumn. On this two-day beginner-intermediate course you will begin or build upon your macrofungi (mushroom and toadstool) identification skills.

Field sessions will be followed by indoor learning during which you will explore the ecology of fungi and the use of keys to identify to genus.

This course was originally called ‘Mushrooms and Toadstools – Learning Identification Skills

This course will cover:

  • Fungal ecology classification
  • Fungi identification skills
  • Using a key to identify to genus
  • Latin and common names of some fungi
  • Habitat requirements of some fungi 

Read More

The course will begin with an indoor session during which you will look at the various groups of fungi and how to collect them. Field sessions will follow during which you will collect a range of species, noting their ecology which is very important in assisting identification. When you return indoors you will look at the main features that need to be identified before progressing on to using keys to identify what has been found.

By the end of the course, you will:

  •  Know how to use a key to identify to genus
  • Be familiar with a wide range of fungi that occur in the habitat surrounding the course location
  • Be familiar with the Latin and common names of some fungi
  • Be familiar with the habitat requirements of some fungi

Who Should Attend? – This course will be useful as in-service training for those involved in environmental and outdoor education. Those interested in general Natural History will become more familiar with the Fungi Kingdom and it is a good introduction to the fungi for those that wish to develop skills in identification.

Knowledge Level – Beginner-Intermediate. 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.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no accommodation, refreshments, or meal facilities included in the course price. 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

Paul Nichol

Field mycologist for 30 years during which time I have been a tutor for the Field Studies Council at several centres. Founder of the Nottinghamshire and Cumbria fungus groups and adult education tutor for Nottingham University and the WEA. Author of ‘ An Initial Guide to the Identification of Mushrooms & Toadstools’. Trustee of the Fungus Conservation Trust.

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 10:00
  • The course will end at 17:00

Day 1


  • Indoors introduction to fungi what they are and how they feed
  • Field work to collect a range of fungi


  • Lunch - not provided
  • Indoor session classifying the fungi and careful observation of their features
  • Introduction to the use of keys

Day 2


  • Collecting once again


  • Lunch - not provided
  • Independent work on using keys and field guides
  • Developing an exhibition of identified specimens

Please note accommodation, refreshments, and an evening meal are not included in the course price. 

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you build 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 a Field Studies Council 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, read more here.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Current field guide to European Fungi
  • Kitchen fork
  • Penknife
  • Magnifying lens (if possible)
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items

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 14, October 2023 10:00 - Sun 15, October 2023 17:00

    The venue is unable to offer accommodation with this course, please book local accommodation if you require overnight stays and ensure you take out the appropriate insurance. There is a car parking charge at the venue of £2.50 per day - ticket machines accept cash or card payments. Further directions on finding the venue can be found here.

    Whisby Nature Park, Moor Lane, Thorpe-on-the-Hill, Lincoln, LN6 9BW
    East Midlands
    Paul Nichol

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. 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.