A day course aimed at the keen beginner and improver alike, providing an introduction to the commoner ferns and their allies. Our day will be spent in Benthall Edge woods near the Ironbridge Gorge; a particularly interesting botanical site with a variety of woodland fern species as well as many other interesting woodland plants.

The day will start with an introduction to Fern structures and terminology, followed by how to identify the commoner fern species. Later on we will look at techniques for determining the more unusual species. Use will be made of the excellent ‘Fern Guide’ and by the end of the day participants should feel confident in the use of this key. The only requirements for this course are an enthusiasm for plants and good walking ability (there are a lot of steps on site).

Tutor: Mark Duffell

Mark Duffell has had a lifetime interest in plants, gaining the RHS Diploma in Horticulture and completing an MSc in Biological Recording. He now runs Arvensis Ecology, splitting his time between conducting botanical surveys and teaching botanical identification and survey techniques to undergraduate and postgraduate students, consultancies and environmental organisations.
Spleenworts growing on a wall (Asplenium sp.)

Example Timetable

  • Meet in car park for 10am start.
  • Walking and stopping along route for rest of day.
  • Lunch break and breaks as required.
  • Return to car park for around 4pm.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Personal and Travel Insurance
  • Picnic Lunch

Before You Attend

Park at the car park on the south side of the Ironbridge (SJ672033 – approximate postcode TF8 7JP) – car parking fees apply. Public toilets are available in nearby Ironbridge but not in Benthall Edge woods.

What to Bring

    • x10 and/or x20 hand lens*.
    • A packed lunch and drink.
    • Walking boots and waterproofs.
    • Bring along any specimens you would like help with identifying.

Recommended Reading

  • The Fern Guide: A field guide to the ferns, clubmosses, quillworts and horsetails of the British Isles. Merryweather, J. 3rd edition. 2007. (£7.50)*

*Copies of this book and handlens may be available to purchase on the day, provided you pre-order by contacting FSC Preston Montford before-hand.

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