The course is intended to provide a sound introduction to this intriguing group of plants. It is particularly suited to beginners, but will also appeal to those who wish to revise their knowledge before taking it further in an area which supports a rich and varied flora. The emphasis throughout the weekend will be placed on identification, and individual help will be given at all levels, both in the field and in the laboratory. North Wales’ damp climate provides ideal growing conditions for mosses and liverworts and thus a diverse number of very good specimens can be found at field sites close to the Centre, which this course takes advantage of.

An insight into the life of mosses and liverworts will be provided by classroom work, discussion and by first hand observation. This will be achieved by taking full advantage of a wide range of habitats within easy reach of the Centre, and will be supported by evening work using microscopes. It will thus be possible, not only to develop skills in recognising species in the field, but also to confirm them by using identification keys.

This course is aimed at those who are beginning in this area, and aims to be a good introduction to different mosses and liverworts.

Course objectives

  • Introduce a number of mosses and liverworts in the field, and develop identification skills.
  • Equip participants with many of the skills needed to identify independently, using keys.
  • Introduce this intriguing group of plants.

Tutor: Lucia Ruffino

Lucia Ruffino is a bryologist and free-lance botanical surveyor living and working in North Wales. Lucia’s botanical knowledge has developed over the years from an amateur background and she now specialises in NVC surveys in upland and peatland habitats.

Example Timetable

Course participants are requested to arrive on the first day at our reception for registration from 4.00 - 5.15pm. An introductory talk to the Centre is at 5.45pm. Dinner is at 6pm, followed by an introduction to your course. Departure is at about 4.00 pm on the final day.  Free transport will be available to Llandudno Junction station on Sunday after the course ends, for those who have travelled by train.


4.00 – 5.15 pm: Course Registration.
5.45 pm: Introduction to the Centre.
Evening: An illustrated talk outlining the special features of mosses and liverworts.


Conwy Valley – plenty of opportunities to learn how to recognise common and conspicuous species in a variety of habitats using field characteristics.
Evening: Practical work with microscopes and identification keys.


Field excursion giving the opportunity to see many of the species found the previous day and consolidate what we learned.
Course finishes at about 4.00 pm

Although excursions will not be strenuous, they will involve rough and wet ground.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport

Before You Attend

What to bring

  • Warm clothing is essential
  • Sun cream and sun hat (hopefully these will be essential!)
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers (can be borrowed from the Centre)
  • Outdoor footwear (walking boots and wellies can be borrowed from the Centre)
  • Day rucksack, warm hat and gloves (can be borrowed from the Centre)
  • A torch, water bottle, thermos flask and lunch box

The following items will also be needed

  • Fine forceps (blunt ended tweezers are not suitable)
  • Fine scalpel (eg Swann Morton no 11)
  • Hand lens (at least x10, but x20 if you have one)
  • Stout penknife
  • Selection of small polythene bags
  • Small notebook and pencil
  • Old newspapers (for making moss packets)

Rhyd-y-creuau has a supply of dissecting microscopes and some compound microscopes for use during the laboratory sessions. However, if you would like to bring your own microscopes, it would help if you would let us know by email, please (to help us set up the laboratory).

Books to bring with you

  • Atherton I, Bosanquet S, Lawley M (2010). Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland – a field guide’. British Bryological Society.
  • Smith, A.J.E. (1978 or 2006 reprint of 2nd edition). Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press.
  • Smith A.J.E. (1990). The Liverwort Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press.
  • Watson, E.V. (1955 etc). British Mosses and Liverworts. Cambridge University Press. (An invaluable introductory flora.)

Recommended Reading

  • Crawford, C.L. (2002). Bryophytes of Native Woods. Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • Jahns, H.M. (1983). Collins Guide to the Ferns, Mosses and Lichens of Britain and North and Central Europe. Collins, London.
  • Malcolm, B. & N. (2006). Mosses and Other Bryophytes: an Illustrated Glossary. Micro-Optics Press.
  • Perry A.R. (1992). Mosses and Liverworts of Woodland. National Museum of Wales.

All these books, and more, will be available for you to see during the course.

Sorry this course has ended