If you want to develop your skills in identifying woodland plants, then this course is for you! This course will concentrate not only on trees and the more colourful woodland herbs, but also on the traditionally difficult groups such as woodland grasses, sedges, mosses, liverworts and ferns – all with the close support of our expert tutor.

You will visit a broad variety of woodland habitats to observe a range of woodland species. This may include typical base-rich, species-rich lowland woodlands, sessile oak woods with a distinct ‘upland’ feel to them, wet alder woodlands, a range of scrub communities, and secondary woodland. You will learn and discuss aspects of how woodland plants are adapted to succeed in their environments and the communities of plants that are often found together.

Your course will take place at the Preston Montford Centre which is nestled in the heart of Shropshire and surrounded by a diverse natural environment to immerse yourself in, with picturesque views disappearing into Wales.

*Please note that some of the woodland paths are steep.

Tutor: Sally Peacock

Sally’s interest in natural history began at an early age but was fanned into flames by involvement in leading groups in the hills and mountains of the UK as a teacher. This led to a fascination with the plants of the UK, so that seeing plants when out walking is like seeing old friends.

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give an outline of what to expect.

If you have booked accommodation with the Centre your bedroom will be ready from 3.00pm onward on the day of arrival and we ask that you vacate by 9.30am on the morning of departure.
If numbers are sufficient a station pick up will be arranged at 5.30pm from Shrewsbury Station.
Please arrive in time for the evening meal at 6.30pm on Friday
The course starts after dinner with a classroom session 7.30pm - 9.00pm
The course ends at 4.00pm on the final day.

Time will be made available for eating packed lunches during the day.

Friday evening

Please arrive in time for the evening meal at 6.30pm.

Getting to know ferns


Morning: Wenlock Edge (field trip)
Afternoon: The Ercall (field trip)
Evening: Getting to know bryophytes


Morning and afternoon: Benthall Edge, Ironbridge (field trip)
Evening: Looking at trees on site


Morning: Haughmond Abbey (field trip)
Afternoon: Open book identification test

What's Included

What’s included?

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the subject
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which we are renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression
  • All meals provided

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

PLEASE NOTE For course bookings including full board accommodation, please note bathroom facilities maybe be shared

Before You Attend

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make any necessary adjustments.

What To Bring

As we will be visiting a number of different sites with varying degrees of slope and wetness, it’s advisable to bring both wellingtons and walking boots, (if you don’t have your own wellingtons, don’t worry - there are adequate supplies available for hire from the Centre).

  • A hand lens x10 and/or x20; lenses can be purchased from the Centre shop.
  • Field note books are for sale at the centre or you may wish to bring one with you.
  • A couple of large plastic bags for keeping specimens fresh.
  • A sandwich box, water bottle and vacuum flask.
  • A small rucksack and waterproof clothing.
  • Sun hat and sun screen.
  • Two pairs of fine pointed forceps (available on loan) and/or two mounted needles (not essential).
  • Recommended Reading
  • For reading material, the following would be useful:

Useful Books

  • Rose, F. & O’ Reilly, C. (2006). The Wild Flower Key – How to identify wild flowers trees & shrubs in Britain & Ireland. Revised and updated edition. Frederick Warne (Penguin Group): London.
  • Streeter, D., Hart-Davies, C., Hardcastle, A., Cole, F., & Harper, L. (2016). Collins Wild Flower Guide – 2nd Edition. Collins: London.
  • Stace, C. (2019). New Flora of the British Isles – Fourth edition. Cambridge University Press or Stace, C. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles – Third edition. Cambridge University Press.
  • Merryweather, J. & Hill, M. (2007). The Fern Guide - A field guide to the ferns, clubmosses, quillworts and horsetails of the British Isles. 3rd Edition. Field Studies Council AIDGAP series.
  • Atherton, I., Bosanquet, S. and Lawley, M. (eds.). (2010). Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland – a field guide. British Bryological Society.

Sorry this course booking is closed