Due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel courses from March to 1st August, we hope you will find an event later in the year that you can attend.

Three full days will be spent in the field looking at ferns and their allies in their natural habitats. Sites will include upland and lowland, acidic and alkaline habitats, ensuring that a variety of species from a number of families will be observed. Study will primarily involve identification of species, but attention will also be given to basic fern ecology and factors that affect their survival.

North Wales contains a diverse range of plant communities and a wide range of habitats as a result of its coastal and mountain sites, its complex geology and varied land use. This results in there being an extremely wide variety of ferns, clubmosses and horsetails growing in the area. This course aims to provide the student with a firm grounding in the botany and ecology of these fascinating plants.

Daytime walks will be up to four miles long through stunning rural scenery in and around Snowdonia with fine views on good days. The terrain will be diverse, including some rocky, steep sections, but will be taken at botanical pace. Rain will not stop play, but field days may be curtailed if prevailing weather conditions are unpleasant. Evening identification sessions in the laboratory with fern field guides, specimens and hand lenses will help to consolidate learning.


This is one of a series of courses (Units) run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University contributing to the MSc Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring and the Postgraduate Certificate in Biological Recording. To gain university credits you must be registered for the programme in advance of this course. For further details please contact:

Department of Natural Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, (Shrewsbury Office). E-mail: [email protected]  Phone: 01743 355137

The Unit will be assessed through, for example, identification tests, survey reports, field journals, production of keys, essays or other forms of assessment.

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]

Tutor: Chris Metherell

Chris Metherell is the BSBI (Botanical Society of the British Isles) County Recorder for Northumberland and an experienced botanist. He regularly leads field trips for the Wild Flower Society and other interested groups.

Example Timetable

Course participants are requested to arrive on the first day at our reception for registration from 4.00 - 5.15pm. An introductory talk to the Centre is at 5.45pm. Dinner is at 6pm, followed by an introduction to your course. Departure is at 4.00 pm on the final day.

Accrediting Agency

Manchester Metropolitan University

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

What to bring

  • Merryweather, J., & Hill, M., The Fern Guide, Shrewsbury: FSC, 3rd edition (2007)
  • You own ID books, hand lens & field notebook will be useful
  • Warm clothing is essential
  • Sun cream and sun hat (hopefully these will be essential!)
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers (can be borrowed from the Centre)
  • Outdoor footwear (walking boots and wellies can be borrowed from the Centre)
  • Day rucksack, warm hat and gloves (can be borrowed from the Centre)
  • A torch, water bottle, thermos flask and lunch box

We will provide specialist equipment, but if you have your own you are welcome to bring it.