Soils are a natural part of the landscape and contain a lot of information about its development. This course explores the field characters of natural soils around the Field Centre and unlocks the fascinating evidence for their geological origins and the dramatic changes brought about by the Ice Ages and by human intervention.

Participants will use published maps, field investigation and simple laboratory techniques to assess the characters of a range of soil types around the field centre. We will dig small pits, use soil augers and carefully examine the ground surface and the plants growing on it for evidence. Some rough walking and moderate field exertion should be anticipated!. The relationship of soils to vegetation and land management will also be emphasised, and presentations will show the importance of soils in creating and restoring the landscapes of East Anglia.

By the end of the course, participants should have a knowledge of the resources available to undertake their own investigations, and an understanding of the factors producing different soils supporting distinct habitats in their own areas of study.

Tutor: Jonny Stone

Jonny Stone is an ecological consultant based in East Anglia, specialising in the assessment and management of vegetation. He has considerable experience of surveying landscape and sites in many areas of Lowland Britain. Jonny has conducted extensive landscape-scale Phase 1 surveys in Eastern England, and has developed site-based versions to aid in conservation management planning for nature reserves, country estates and World Heritage Sites, and worked with protected species specialists in developing integrated environmental audits.

Bring a friend!

If you are attending a course at Flatford Mill at the sole occupancy price, we are offering a special rate for a friend or partner not enrolled on the course to also stay at £50 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast.

Please contact FSC Flatford Mill on 01206 297110 or [email protected] to book this offer.

What's Included

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

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Outdoor gear for the field visits, including stout shoes or boots, waterproofs (just in case), a small rucksack or bag, a lunch box, a flask.
  • Weatherproof clipboard (a suitably sized poly bag to cover a normal clipboard is sufficient), notebook and pencil
  • Hand lens (x10 magnification), can be borrowed or bought from the Centre.
  • A garden spade and any tools and equipment you think might make examining soils easier!
  • Strong polythene bags to collect soil samples (about 20 x 20 cm, with strong wire seals) with sticky labels and permanent marker pen.

Recommended Reading

  • Please bring your preferred portable plant identification books, such as Francis Rose: The Wild Flower Key. Revised and updated by Clare O’Reilly (Penguin Books, 2006).

Note: General plant identification skills will not be assumed but will be useful in recognising surface soil conditions.