This intermediate Phase I survey course will focus on helping you develop the botanical knowledge and field skills required to map habitats. Over the course duration, you will have the opportunity to survey and map of a variety of habitats!

This course will include:

  • Field visits to a range of habitats
  • Classifying habitats within the Phase 1 system
  • Mapping habitats and drawing conclusions
  • Botanical identification

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This intermediate course will focus on botanical detail to provide you with an understanding of the whole at a landscape scale. You will study several habitats, allowing you to develop and progress both your survey and plant identification skills.

Please note: You will either need your own transport or be willing to car share for one of the site visits in the Forest and also for the Roding Valley field visit.

Who Should Attend? – This course is for anyone interested in beginning to conduct Phase I surveys with a focus on plant ID for habitat categorisation and will be best placed for those looking for continued professional development.

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

Prior Knowledge – Basic botanical knowledge will be required, although no specific experience is needed.

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

  • Describe how to carry out a Phase 1 Habitat survey of a variety of habitats
  • Analyse the findings of a Phase 1 Habitat survey and report on the findings, distinguishing those species/habitats of conservation value and justifying mapping/habitat identification decisions
  • Confidently identify a range of botanical species
  • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers

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

Sharon Brown

Sharon Brown is a botanist – geographer currently working as an independent ecologist with habitat assessment and management as a main area of expertise. Over time she has also worked for the Nature Conservancy Council, Scottish Rangering, Wildlife Trusts and latterly as an associate tutor for the Field Studies Council. As a naturalist she has a fascination for wild places, as well as the wild in more urban settings and an enthusiasm for passing this to others through practical application.

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

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

  • Please arrive at 9:15am for the course to start promptly at 9:30am
  • The course will end at 4:30pm

Day 1

9:15am Arrive at Epping Forest Centre for registration, H&S lecture
9:30am Collect equipment
9:45am Field visit for data collection
12:00pm Lunch – Not provided
1:00pm Continued field time
3:30pm Return to classroom - start mapping and drawing conclusions
4:30pm End of Day 1

Day 2

9:15-30am Arrive at Epping Forest Centre - introduction to day
10:00am Field visit for data collection
12:30pm Lunch – Not provided
1:30pm Classroom session to map findings and draw conclusions
3:00pm Break - refreshments not provided
3:30pm Summary and final questions
4:30pm End of Day 2

Both days will involve visits to a variety of habitats with most of the day being spent outdoors.

Please note accommodation, refreshments and an evening meal is not included.

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.

Before You Attend

Arriving for your course


Meet at Epping Forest Centre at 9.15am, for a 9.30 prompt start. Collect kit then travel to the first site.

First site - 9.45am - meet at Hill Wood Car Park (Fairmead Rd, Waltham Abbey, Loughton IG10 4HR) – parking charges apply, card payments only.

Second site - 13:00 – 16:30 - Parking available on Marlescroft Way, adjacent to the Roding Valley Meadows Nature Reserve (IG10 3LZ)


Sunday morning meet at Epping Forest Centre at 9.30am

What to Bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items
  • We will provide specialist equipment, but if you have your own you are welcome to bring it

Recommended Literature

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

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. 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.