This course is suitable for beginners and all those who love trees.  No previous knowledge will be assumed. 

Trees make up one of the most impressive and beautiful features of our landscape. They unquestionably constitute one of the most important aspects of our natural heritage.  The different seasons are reflected dramatically in their changing appearance throughout the year.  This course is concerned with their identification. 

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Spring and summer are a great time for looking at broad-leaved trees: their leaves are fully formed and some will still be flowering. This weekend will explore the natural history of trees and show you how to recognise individual species.

The main emphasis will be on tree identification, notably those native to Britain, but we will also pay attention to well-established, introduced species. We will practise working with different keys to identification. Part of each day will be spent at the centre sorting through specimens and getting to grips with the terminology of the different shapes of leaves and the different floral designs of those that are still in flower.

As much time as possible will be spent in the field exploring the local woodlands, hedgerows and wet thickets of the varied habitats nearby in order to practice identifying as many species as possible.

Please note: This course is not part of the Biodiversity learning framework, this course is organised by the centre and the tutor.

About the Tutor

Ros Bennett

Ros Bennett is a botanist and ecologist.  She was formerly a full time tutor at Flatford Mill and then organiser and leader of courses for FSC Overseas.  She has written books on flowers and trees and has taught courses on both to all age groups.

Example Timetable

Arrival Day

Flatford Mill:

Check-in is between 1400-1800, if you are arriving after 1800 please advise us, so we can ensure you are advised of access codes, room key location, and room location.

You will meet the tutor at dinner, and you will have your first session after dinner.

Slapton Ley:

Resident participants are requested to arrive for registration by 17.00 on arrival day.

Non-residents can arrive 10/15 mins before the evening meal.

There will be an introductory talk at 17.00. The course will begin after supper.

Supper is usually at 18.30. A non-resident booking also includes dinner during your course as teaching does progress into the evening.

Breakfast, for resident participants, will be from 8:00am.

The course will end on Friday at 16.00. On the final day please vacate your room by 09.00, storage is provided for your luggage

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Picnic Lunch

Full board accommodation and picnic lunch are for resident bookings only.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

As the course involves field visits you will need a Thermos, lunchbox, waterproof clothing (available on loan from the centre) and stout shoes or boots.

Also, please bring the following with you if you can:

  • A x10 magnification hand lens (available for loan or purchase at c. £9.00)

N.B. It is not necessary to purchase any books before the course or to bring any with you.  However you might like to have with you, a picture guide that you are used to using, especially if it arranges its trees in family order, such as one or other of the first two listed below

  •  British Trees: A photographic guide to every common species by Sterry (Collins)
  • Collins Tree Guide by  Johnson and More (Harper Collins)
  • New Flora of the British Isles by Stace (CUP ideally 4th edit)

Ros will introduce her own key to native trees from Tree-spotting (Welbeck)


About Flatford Mill

This centre has four buildings that are used for visitor accommodation. Whilst most rooms are either en-suite or have a dedicated bathroom, there are some rooms in The Mill that share showers and toilets at the end of the hall. If this is unsuitable for you please make the office staff aware upon booking or as soon as possible. Please be aware that you are visiting a Field Centre that caters in the main for school parties; the accommodation is basic and dormitory style, but warm and comfortable.

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Fri 21, July 2023 17:00 - Sun 23, July 2023 15:00

    This weekend will explore the varied habitats of Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve.

    Slapton Ley
    South West
    £215 - £365
    Ros Bennett