Due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel this course, we hope you will find an event later in the year that you can attend.

A weekend for anyone relatively new to studying the grass family: one of the largest and most important group of flowering plants and one which plays a key role in many British plant communities. The weekend concentrates on the principles of grass identification down to individual species and also the broader ecological relationships within different grassland communities. We will visit a variety of habitats and by looking carefully at the detailed structure of the plants, will help you develop skills and confidence in identifying the more common species correctly and recognising the rarer species when you find them.

Workshop sessions at the Centre will complement the field sessions and review both grass morphology and development and also the use of keys to grass species in all seasons. Stereo microscopes will be available to check out the more obscure features.

The fieldwork will provide many opportunities to discuss why different species of grass occur where they do and ways to interpret sward character, age and conditions from the grass species present. Discussions and presentations will explore the suites of different grass species associated with particular habitats and styles of management that may be encountered in lowland Britain. These will include assessment tools such as the use of indicator species, growth strategies and the environmental indicator value system developed by Heinz Ellenberg.

To support your learning, a range of identification and ecological literature will be available to view or provided as references or web links.

The content is also appropriate for anyone wishing to contribute to their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Please note this course is based at the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook IP9 2RX.

Information about the Royal Hospital School

How to find the Royal Hospital School

Tutor: Jonny Stone

Jonny Stone is an ecological consultant based in East Anglia, specialising in the assessment and management of vegetation. He has considerable experience of surveying landscape and sites in many areas of Lowland Britain. Jonny has conducted extensive landscape-scale Phase 1 surveys in Eastern England, and has developed site-based versions to aid in conservation management planning for nature reserves, country estates and World Heritage Sites, and worked with protected species specialists in developing integrated environmental audits.

With the generous support of the Suffolk Biodiversity and Information Service, along with the Suffolk Naturalists Society, we are able to provide bursary funding for this course for those students who meet the criteria. For more information please go to Bursaries for Natural History Courses.


Bring a friend!

If you are attending a course at Flatford Mill at the sole occupancy price, we are offering a special rate for a friend or partner not enrolled on the course to also stay at £50 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast.

Please contact FSC Flatford Mill on 01206 297110 or [email protected] to book this offer.

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

Please bring the following if you can:

  • Hand lens: minimum x10 magnification and preferably x20 magnification as some features examined in the field may require this power.
  • A folder of loose A4 paper with plastic sleeves to store your specimens in (at least 40 sheets); an A4 scrapbook is adequate as long as it can be carefully aired during and after the course to allow grasses to dry.
  • 40 white sticky labels to label specimens for future reference (c 5x4 cm).
  • An identification text providing written descriptions and graphics, preferably with keys, covering British native grasses. See Recommended Reading below.
  • Two pairs of fine-pointed tweezers for handling specimens are useful.

If you have none, or only some, of these items, they may be available from the Centre on request.

Recommended Reading

  • Grasses by Hubbard (Penguin)
  • Grasses of the British Isles by Cope and Gray (BSBI Handbook)
  • Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of the British Isles and North-Western Europe by Rose (Viking)
  • You may also wish to have access to the Vegetative Key to the British Flora by Poland and Clement.