This course has been cancelled.

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This beginner course will start with the absolute basics of identifying conifers. Get to know the commonly found conifers and learn how successfully identify them.

There’s more to conifers than Leylandii and Christmas trees!

The morning will be spent in the classroom with a selection of specimens, learning how to use a hand lens to locate the small features which you will need to see, in order to sort out your Tsuga from your Pseudotsuga. The afternoon will give you the chance to put your learning into practice during a field trip through Bushy Park, where you will run around, gleefully identifying the many specimen conifers which we have growing in the Royal Park.

Be inspired and engaged by the expertise of our specialist tutor and enjoy being surrounded by like-minded individuals to share your interests.

As part of this course, you will need to purchase the FSC publication –Tree Name Trail before you attend, as you will be using this throughout the course. This is a great tool to use both during and once you have completed the course allowing you to continue exploring and understanding this subject.
Purchase your copy here: 

Please note – there are no accommodation, lunch and or evening meal facilities at FSC London:Bushy Park.

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

Knowledge of different UK trees (i.e. broadleaf vs conifer) would be beneficial, but not necessary. Just a willingness to explore and learn.

What will be covered during this course?

    • An overview of conifer trees within the UK and how they are different to broadleaf trees
    • Introduction to and the importance of using scientific/Latin plant names.
    • How to use Crib/Table of Difference to identify plants and trees
    • How to identify trees using keys and reference books

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

    • Identify the botanical difference between Conifers and Broadleaf trees
    • Understand the limitations and benefits of using reference materials and the importance of personalising your own reference books.
    • Use a simple Botanical Key and a Crib/Table of Difference with confidence, allowing you to identify common conifers with ease
    • 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 learn more about coniferous trees.

    • 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
    • Please note – there is no onsite parking. Pay and display parking is available in the Park (See The Royal Parks website for details and prices). We can arrange parking for blue badge holders, please contact us in advance of your trip. More information can be found here:

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

Email [email protected] to discuss your options!

Tutor: Rachel Cassidy

Rachel Cassidy is a Professional Gardener, Plantsmith, Field Botanist, Consultant Forensic Horticulturalist, gardening Journalist, and Author, having published over two dozen Botany and Gardening books, including introductions to identifying Conifers and Broadleaved Trees. In addition, she writes regularly about gardening on her website, 

With a style that has been variously described as “chatty and informal” and “appropriately bossy”, Rachel makes it her mission to demystify botany for beginners and improvers, aiming to simplify without dumbing down. 

Trees have been her passion for many years, and she loves to pass on her knowledge and enthusiasm for these gentle giants of the landscape! 

Covid Measures

In order to keep our customers and staff safe, we ask that anyone attending our centres:

  • Wears a face covering when in shared indoor space (unless exempt).
  • Maintains social distancing.
  • Cleans their hands regularly.
  • Takes a Covid-19 test before they arrive.

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 4:00 pm.
9:00am Arrive at Bushy Park Centre for registration, H&S lecture
9:30am Tutor introduction, the fun begins: essential ID skills
10:30am Break – refreshments not provided 
10:45am How to key, with practical examples in the classroom
12:30pm Lunch – not provided
1:00pm Latin is not your enemy! Short interactive lecture
1:30pm Field trip to Bushy Park
3:30pm Return to classroom, summary and final questions
4:00pm Finish

This course will involve a brisk walk in the park: we will be outdoors for approximately two hours but will not be walking the whole time.

What's Included

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.

Before You Attend

Before you attend:

This course requires you to purchase an FSC publication – Tree Name Trail

Please ensure you have this before you attend the course.

What to Bring:

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items

If you have them:

  • Hand lens
  • Your own reference book(s)

Please be aware that there can be ticks at Bushy Park. Please consider wearing long-sleeved tops and trousers, even if the weather is nice, and bring insect repellent.

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 plan the course.

Working in partnership with The Royal Parks, London to deliver education in Bushy Park, Greenwich Park and The Regent’s Park. Bushy park is located just north of Hampton Court Palace in Richmond upon Thames

Sorry this course has ended