This beginner to intermediate course is designed to train learners in how to complete the Woodland Condition Assessment (WCA) using the Forestry Commissions new app in the summer. Whether you own or manage a small woodland or are an ecologist who will be using WCAs for Biodiversity Net Gain measurements, this course should leave you feeling confident to carry out summer surveys.   

***Please only book this course if you have received an email inviting you to attend***

This course will include:

  • An introduction to British woodland habitats and their characteristics that are used to assess condition. 
  • An introduction to identifying healthy woodlands, including awareness of invasive species, grazing pressures, and evidence of pests and diseases.  
  • Practical experience completing the Woodland Condition Assessment using the Forestry Commission’s new app with an expert tutor.  

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By the end of the course, participants will: 

  • Be confident in their assessment of broad woodland condition indicators relevant to the season including:  age distribution of trees, browsing damage, tree health, canopy cover, vertical structure, deadwood and woodland disturbance.
  • Be confident in identification of indicative woodland flora, native trees and invasive species in flower/leaf.
  • Know how to complete an accurate woodland condition assessment using the Forestry Commission app.

Who Should Attend?– Nature enthusiasts, students, rangers, early career consultants, ecologists, and those wishing to brush up their skills to help them complete the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Condition Assessment.

Prior Knowledge– No existing knowledge or experience of the Woodland Condition Assessment is needed for this course. Some existing experience of plant identification and woodland habitats is essential.

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

PLEASE NOTE: There is no accommodation or meal facilities provided with this course. Refreshments (tea and coffee) will be available. 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

John Handley

John is the Director of CH Ecology, an independent ecologist and consultant, providing surveys and training on behalf of conservation agencies and Local Authorities. John has a background within amenity horticulture as a Technical Manager, providing advice and training to Local Authorities, prominent sports facilities and private land owners. John is an enthusiastic communicator and botanist.

Dr Jackie Symmons

Dr Jackie Symmons is an experienced freelance ecologist and conservation land management adviser from Mid Wales. She has an extensive background in delivering conservation field research and training from wild deer impacts to marine and terrestrial environment habitat surveys. She is also currently working in the area of natural resource resilience and climate change mitigation.

Example Timetable

Timings for this course may vary, so please check the start and end times for the course runs below. Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly.

This course will involve both classroom learning and field excursions to cover all of the learning objectives.

Lunch is not included so please bring your own food. Refreshments (tea and coffee) will be provided.

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 topic
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression
  • Refreshments (tea/coffee)

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.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items
  • A mobile phone so you can download and use the Woodland Condition App
  • Your preferred tree and wildflower guides (e.g. Rose or Streeter)
  • A x10 hand lens

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 out 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.