This course is designed for countryside professionals, amateur naturalists and university students.

It introduces the identification, life history, behaviour and conservation of these beautiful and fascinating insects, covering all the British breeding species and vagrants too. Adults and nymphs may be netted for examination then released unharmed.


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]

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

If you are aged 18-25, you are eligible for a £50 discount thanks to the Generation Green project, click here to find out more.

Tutor: Steve Cham

Steve Cham has wide-ranging interests in all aspects of natural history, with a particular emphasis on dragonflies and damselflies. He was a major contributor to the Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland and has authored or co-authored a number of other books on dragonflies. Steve has led many successful courses here at Flatford Mill.

Please note, the fee is for tuition, packed lunch and refreshments only.

Unforuntately there is no accommodation available at the Centre for this course but please call the Centre for recommendations of local facilities and if you would like to book an evening meal at FSC Flatford Mill, please email [email protected]

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 course attendees on this course who meet the criteria. For more information please go to Bursaries for Natural History Courses.

Example Timetable


The course will start on the Friday evening with a general introduction to dragonfly natural history.


We will visit a range of local habitats to practise identification and to observe dragonfly behaviour. This will include one day spent looking at still water habitat close to the River Stour near Glemsford.

On Saturday evening we will review the findings of the day.


The second day will focus on other sites along the River Stour near Bures where several nationally scarce species occur. Topics to be discussed include habitat requirements, breeding and feeding behaviour and dragonfly conservation.  There will be opportunities for photography during the day.

Part of the course will be spent on the identification and lifestyle of dragonfly larvae and exuviae. The course will involve both laboratory work with microscopes and field work.  Adult dragonflies will be netted and examined closely before releasing them again.

Accrediting Agency

Manchester Metropolitan University

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Lunch

Bursaries and Subsidies

If you are aged 18-25, you are eligible for a £50 discount thanks to the Generation Green project, click here to find out more.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Waterproofs and wellingtons can be hired from the Centre.
  • You will however need pens, pencils and a notebook.
  • If you have a copy of a field guide to British dragonflies, please bring it with you.
  • Especially useful are close-focussing binoculars or monoculars and a 10x handlens.
  • If you are interested in dragonfly photography, please bring an SLR or digital camera with a suitable macro lens, flash gun(s) and a tripod.