This native winter tree identification course is suitable for beginners. It is also suitable for those who, however knowledgeable about trees, do not feel confident at identifying them in winter.  No previous knowledge will be assumed. 

We will focus on our native broad-leaved species and the most commonly occurring conifers. 

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Late autumn is an irresistible time to turn our attention to trees.  At this time the broad-leaved trees are just losing their blaze of colour and the conifers stand out in majestic contrast.  In the case of the broad-leaved trees, we can no longer rely solely on the leaf shape and fruits, we must now look at the bare twigs and winter buds to help us identify these important members of our natural heritage.  At this time of year conifers, by contrast, are easier to identify because they nearly all retain their foliage throughout the winter and all their cones are fully formed.

This course is concerned with identification.  Depending on weather conditions, much of Saturday will be spent at the centre, sorting through specimens and getting to grips with the terminology of the features of twigs and buds and, in the case of conifers, needle design and cone shapes.  We shall also practise working with different keys to identification.  However, regardless of the weather, and especially on Sunday, we shall spend plenty of time exploring the local woods and hedgerows in order to put into practice what we have learned.

Be prepared for short bursts of brisk walking whilst exploring the woods.  However, there will be longer periods of standing still while studying different tree specimens and, whatever the weather, you may become cold at these times, so do bring appropriate clothing.

Please note: This course is not part of the Biodiversity learning framework, this course is organised by the Flatford Mill 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 Field Studies Council overseas.  She has written books on flowers and trees and has taught courses on both to all age groups.

About Flatford Mill

We have 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 un-suitable 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.

Explore our range of nature courses hosted by our engaging tutors and learn from their expertise and knowledge. Our nature experiences are a chance to meet like-minded people, a chance to unwind from everyday life, and a great opportunity to experience the UK’s glorious wildlife and the surrounding countryside of our field centres.

  • Calke Trees

Example Timetable

Arrival Day

Check-in is between 1600-1800, 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.

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 is available for resident bookings only.
Refreshments are included for all, but non-resident bookings are advised to bring lunch with you.

Before You Attend

What to Bring 
Please bring with you if you can:

  • A x10 magnification hand lens (available on loan or for purchase @c. £9.00) and a pair of binoculars
  • Appropriate warm and waterproof clothing and footwear (waterproofs and wellies available on loan at the centre)
  • A lunchbox and flask.
  • Any picture guide to trees that you are accustomed to using, such as Tree Guide by Johnson and More (Collins) or British Trees: A photographic guide to every common species by Sterry (Collins)
  • Ros will introduce her own key to native trees from Tree-spotting (Welbeck)

*There are copies of many tree books available in the Centre Library for loan during your stay.


Opportunities to attend this course

  • Fri 22, November 2024 19:00 - Mon 25, November 2024 16:00

    Flatford Mill
    East of England
    £299 - £427
    Ros Bennett
    Pay a deposit of £100.00 per item