FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Limestone Flora

  • NON-RESIDENT: £235

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here

The limestone habitats of the Yorkshire Dales National Park harbour many species characteristic of base-rich conditions. Such calcicole species as blue moor grass (Sesleria caerulea), birds-eye primrose (Primula farinosa) and limestone fern (Gymnocarpium robertianum) are typical of many sites around Malham.

This course aims to explore this specialist flora amid the magnificent Craven scenery. We will visit a variety of local habitats to gain experience of using keys and identifying a wide range of species in the field. We will concentrate on several important plant families including ferns, grasses and sedges. The emphasis during the day will be on identification in the field and a proposed programme for this includes:

Friday (eve): Local walk around the Centre after supper for limestone pavement and views
Saturday: Grassington for woodland and grasslands
Sunday: Limestone pavements around Ingleborough NNR
Monday: Base-rich flushes and fens at Malham

Evenings will mainly be spent in the classroom to practise using keys, use microscopes to help confirm the identification of a few more difficult species, and understand why limestone supports such a specialist flora. There will be an identification test on Monday afternoon for participants who are working towards the University certificate in Biological Recording and Species Identification.

Please note that although this course will accommodate the needs of the group where possible, the course involved full days out in the field and the nature of the sites means that walking over uneven ground, over stiles and up and down steps is inevitable. If you are at all unsure about whether or not this course will be suitable for you please get in touch to discuss.

Ian Powell is a former ecology tutor with the FSC at Slapton Ley and on overseas courses to South America. He now teaches undergraduate and masters courses in conservation biology at Edge Hill University and carries out botanical and butterfly surveys and research in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.


This is one of a series of courses run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University contributing to the MSc Biological Recording and the University Certificate in Biological Recording and Species Identification. The University Certificate is being discontinued so is no longer open for new registration. Existing certificate students will be able to gain credits in the 2018/19 academic year. To gain university credits you must be registered for the Masters programme in advance of this course. For further details please contact:

The Division of Biology and Conservation Ecology Manchester Metropolitan University. E-mail: [email protected]

There is assessment of the course through, for example, identification tests, producing survey reports or field journals, working through keys and other various pieces of work.

The course is also suitable for non-credit students and for those enrolling on the new certificate course with FSC. For further details on this course please contact FSC Head Office at [email protected]

Further Information

Course leaflet
About FSC Malham Tarn
Getting to FSC Malham Tarn

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken.

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