The beginner to intermediate fungi course will cover the classification of the larger fungi, their feeding strategies and ecology, and help you to identify important macroscopic features.

The range of fungi that occur in coniferous and deciduous woodlands can be quite different and spectacular. By understanding their habitat and ecology, you can become more confident in making an accurate identification.

This course will allow you to see and identify a wide range of the larger fungi found in the UK. We hope to find a range of species that will allow you to progress and develop your identification skills. During the course, we will visit a range of habitats including woodlands and unimproved grasslands, allowing you to see the diversity of fungi found in varying habitats. Alongside, field excursions you will be introduced to identification keys, the range of different formats they can come in and how to use them correctly with the guidance of an expert tutor. We will also collect some samples that you will prepare for examination in the laboratory. During this, you will develop skills in using keys to identify fungi to genus and become familiar with the terminology involved in recognising the main macro features of the fungi which are important in making an identification.

Your course will take place in our centre which occupies a dramatic setting at 300m up the south-facing slope of Blencathra in the Lake District National Park.
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 our Blencathra Centre please email [email protected]

This course is suited for anyone looking to begin developing skills in identifying the larger fungi found in the UK.

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Early career ecologists, Citizen scientists, Volunteer surveyors, Land managers

Knowledge Level

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

Prior Knowledge

A basic understanding of fungi species and terminology would be beneficial for this course.

What will be covered during this course?

    • Introduction to fungi ecology with a focus on feeding strategies
    • Field visits to a range of habitats
    • How to collect specimens and prepare them for examination in a laboratory
    • How to use keys to identify to genus
    • Important features of fungi that are needed for identification
    • Identification of fungi to their major groups

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

    • Describe fungi ecology and feeding strategies
    • Recognise some characteristic species
    • Describe key features of fungi needed for identification
    • Identify fungi to genus level using keys
    • Find fungi in the field
    • 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: Paul Nichol

Paul Nichol is an experienced field mycologist having worked in adult education for Nottingham University and the WEA where he taught Field Mycology and has taught for the FSC for many years. He has been involved with the setting up of Fungi study groups in Nottinghamshire and Cumbria, in Cumbria he is the county recorder.

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 10:00am
  • The course will end at 5:00pm.

Day 1

10:00am Introductions and prepare for field session
10:30am Field visit to seminatural coniferous woodland
12:00pm Return to centre
12:30pm Lunch - not provided
1:30pm Identification of specimens in the lab
4:00pm Classroom plenary, summary and final questions
5:00pm Finish

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

Day 2

10:00am Introduction to the day and recap
10:30am Prepare for field visit - refreshments not included
10:45am Field visit to ancient deciduous woodland
12:30pm Lunch - Not included
1:30pm Identification of specimens in the lab
4:00pm Classroom plenary, summary and final questions
5:00pm Finish


What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you continue to build and develop 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
  • Clear objectives and progression

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

What to Bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items
  • A rigid plastic or cardboard box to transport small specimens (No plastic bags)
  • Hand lens* or some sort of magnifying glass
  • Fungi Field Guides if you have them

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.

Sorry this course has ended