This course is suitable for beginners as well as those who already know many plants but don’t know why they do and who seek help in learning identification skills. Flatford is a great location for the botanist to explore the wild flowers of Suffolk.
The range of habitats and the consequent variety of plant species is perfect. Adjacent to Flatford are marshes, swamps and grazing pasture. Further inland on the chalky, boulder clay there are ancient woodlands and species-rich hay-meadows while the coastal habitats support a completely contrasting flora along the sand and shingle spits, the mudflats and salt marshes.
Some time will be spent in the classroom but we shall spend as much time as possible exploring the plants of the wonderful Suffolk countryside. The course is designed to help you identify plants in a glorious setting. This will require close examination of the flowers which provide the major big clues to the identity of any plant, but other features are also very useful to determine precise identification. We shall approach this in a systematic way, taking account of the characteristics that group plants into recognisable flowering plant families. We will use reliable identification methods that should stand you in good stead and give you confidence to pursue the subject further. Plenty of help and guidance will be available. The daily excursions will involve some walking over rough ground with occasional short bursts of uphill and downhill, but the pace will seldom be strenuous.
As you can imagine, Suffolk can be glorious on a fine day in June (but be armed with sun cream etc.) However, if the weather is poor the coast, in particular, can be exposed to the worst. You should be prepared with water- and windproof clothing (available on loan from the centre). Rain will not stop play but we are likely to return to Flatford earlier than planned and spend more time studying the plants in the classroom. Strong winds may dictate changes to the programme – woodlands are not the safest places to be under such conditions.
About the Tutor
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 has taught courses on wild flowers 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.
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.
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 on loan or purchase @ c. £9.00)
- Two pairs of fine pointed forceps and/or two mounted needles (not essential but you might find them useful)
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 book that arranges its flowers in family order such as one or other of the first three listed below:
- The Wild Flower Key by Rose and O’Reilley (Warne)
- The Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland by Fitter, Fitter and Blamey (Bloomsbury Natural History)
- Collins Flower Guide by Streeter (Harper Collins)
- New Flora of the British Isles by Stace (CUP ideally 4th edit)
If you don’t have these items or books, they may be borrowed from the Centre.
Opportunities to attend this course
This course is not currently available to book. Dates will follow soon.
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