This beginner lichens course will consist of a blend of field and classroom sessions to provide you with a general introduction to lichens as a group, focusing on morphology, biology, ecology and chemistry, alongside identification and recording.

Lichens are an important part of many ecosystems and can be found all around us. These are amazing small plant-like structures found on a range of surfaces ranging from rocks and boulders to buildings and the sides of trees.

The workshop will include a series of field visits to local sites around the Field Centre, situated at Rhyd-y-Creuau within the Snowdonia National Park. With the rich lichen diversity across this area, the Centre is perfectly situated for a beginner course in lichens, especially with the spectacular variety that can be found in North Wales. The knowledge and skillset acquired over the duration of this course will equip you with the confidence to delve further into lichens as a group, where follow-up support is offered by the course tutor.

The centre is set in the beautiful, rugged landscape of the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales – with access to secluded wooded valleys, rocky shores, beaches and traditional seaside resorts.

PLEASE NOTE the course fee is for tuition only. There is no accommodation provided with this course. If you would like to book accommodation, lunch and an evening meal at FSC Rhyd-y-Creuau please email [email protected]

Bookings will close if course capacity is reached

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers, Early career consultants and ecologists.

Knowledge Level

Beginner. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge

No specific experience is expected, but it would be helpful to have some understanding of British birds

What will be covered during this course?

  • Introduction to lichens – biology, chemistry and ecology
  • Identifying common lichens around the centre and local field trips.
  • How to identify lichens
  • Demonstrations of equipment
  • Lichen key features
  • How to record lichens

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Describe lichen biology, chemistry and ecology
    • Confidently use equipment and resources provided
    • Identify the main lichen features in the classroom & in the field
    • Identify some of the commoner lichens & their associated features
    • Gain insight into lichen literature & the use of dichotomous keys
    • Successfully apply chemical testing for identification purposes
    • Understand the importance & process of biological recording/collecting specimens
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our fantastic tutor will combine the use of classroom-led learning and outside learning opportunities to give individuals the skills and confidence to progress their learning.

    • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course
    • Upon booking, you will need to provide individual details of all attendees
    • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses.

    • Discounted rates
    • Privately run courses for your group
    • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Click here to find out more

If we are unable reach viable numbers for this course, we will inform you of the course cancellation 14 days prior to the course run. We would recommend when purchasing accommodation and/or travel you should take out your own insurance.

Tutor: April Windle

April Windle is a naturalist with a particular interest in lichens. She is currently self-employed and involved in a variety of lichen education and conservation projects, alongside co-chairing the Education & Promotions Committee of the British Lichen Society.  Her previous employment history includes Plantlife International, the Natural History Museum, Exmoor National Park Authority and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. LinkedIn: April Windle / Twitter: @aprilwindle

Book with Confidence

We understand the difficulties of making plans in the current situation when guidelines continue to change, and insurance conditions are being tightened. In response, we will continue to offer additional flexibility. Find out more here

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give a clear outline of what to expect

    • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 9:00 am
    • The course will end at 5:00 pm.

Day 1

9:00amTutor introductions
  • Introduction to lichens - biology, chemistry, ecology & bioindication.
  • Lichen identification & recording
  • Demonstrations of equipment – hand lens, microscope & ID Guides.
  • Concept of herbaria and reference collections.
  • Thallus types/structure – crustose, foliose, fruticose & leprose etc.
  • Key features – reproduction, attachment & colour etc.
  • Introduction to chemical testing and safe application.
12:30pmLunch – not provided
1:30pmField visit
4:30pmReturn to classroom, summary and final questions
5:00pmEnd of day 1

Please note - accommodation, refreshments and an evening meal are not included

Day 2

9:00amRecap of day 1
9:30amPersonal time to consolidate learning and work through specimens, with the tutor available to help & answer questions.
12:30pmLunch – not provided
1:30pmField time
4:30pmReturn to classroom, summary and final questions
5:00pmEnd of course

*Due to the limited amount of time available, this course will not cover how to complete a cross-section or use a compound microscope. Only a dissecting scope will be used as part of this workshop. 

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you build your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.


  • ★★★★★

    April really is a people person and was able to establish a relaxed atmosphere during the first session

  • ★★★★★

    April was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I was very happy with everything

  • ★★★★

    Being totally immersed in the subject with a group of like minded people and an excellent tutor. April and her volunteer lichen enthusiast assistants were all endlessly helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subject . Please keep running these courses.

  • ★★★★★

    It was all fascinating, the course tutor was very good, the other course participants were very interesting

  • ★★★★

    The balance of field and classroom work was good and I felt I came away with sufficient tools and understanding to continue to expand my knowledge of the group. The tutor introduced the topics in a logical and steady way and followed these up with field experiences to reinforce klnowledge and understanding. A well thought through course.

  • ★★★★

    The opportunity to come and immerse myself in a subject, with the mixture of classroom sessions and field work and the evenings in the lab, is priceless.

Before You Attend

What to Bring?

  • Sturdy walking boots (ideally) or wellies.
  • Good set of waterproofs (jacket & trousers) and an umbrella.
  • Warm clothing (ie. fleece, hat & gloves).
  • Sun cream & clothing for cooler weather.
  • Pens, notebooks and waterproof covers/plastics bags for the field.
  • Phones and cameras will also prove useful for pictures.
  • A day rucksack inc. lunch box, water bottle & thermos flask.
  • A x10 magnification hand lens. Those costing between £3.00 - £5.00 are sufficient.
  • Please bring your own refreshments & pack lunch

Recommended Equipment & Literature

  • FSC foldout – Lichens on Twigs (£3.30), Lichens of heaths & moors (£3.30), Churchyard Lichens (£3.30), Rocky Shore Lichens (£.3.30) and Urban Lichens 1 & 2 (£3.30 each).
  • A “Foldout Guides Wildlife Pack: Lichnes” can be purchased for £17.50 inc. 6 FSC Foldout Guides.
  • Frank Dobson – A Field Key to Lichens on Trees (£16.50), Coastal & Seashore (£16.50) and Churchyards (£16.50).
  • Frank Dobson - Lichens: An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species (£34.99).

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