Woodland Plants - Identification and Survey 2021

May 14, 2021 · Sixpenny Handley, United Kingdom

A 1-day course giving participants;

  • the skills and confidence to identify a wide range of woodland plants (including grasses and bryophytes)
  • the knowledge to carry out Phase 1 and NVC woodland survey

This course will introduce participants to roughly 40 of the most familiar (and some rather unfamiliar) woodland flowers, grasses, bryophytes, shrubs and trees in the stunning RSPB reserve at Garston Woods, near Blandford Forum, Dorset. The day will cover recognising ancient woodland indicator species, a brief look at different management regimes and their effects on woodland ecology, and survey techniques for Phase I and NVC.

At the end of the day participants will have the chance to carry out a mock survey in groups to test their skills.

Tutor: Dominic Price

About the tutor:

Dominic Price is a highly regarded botanical tutor and has been running courses for all levels of ecologists since 2007. He is director of The Species Recovery Trust and specialises in the conservation of endangered species. He is the author of A Field Guide to Grasses, Sedges and Rushes and co-author of The Photographic Guide to Winter Trees and Shrubs.

What to bring

  • Notebook/clipboard
  • Lunch
  • Something to sit on for lunch (ground can be damp)

A copy of the handout can be found on our training resources page here. Please do have a browse of the species list before the day if you are new to this all, as it help your memory on the day!

We apologise that there are no loos at the site, but plenty of trees! Any problems on the day please call Dominic Price on (07968) 786390.

Please inform us of any relevant medical requirements/conditions we should be aware of prior to the course.

Lifts available from Salisbury station on request


10.00 Welcome and start
10.10 Woodland plant ID and comparison of management regimes
12.30 Lunch (shorter if weather bad)
1.15 Revision of plants learnt in the morning
2.40 Woodland survey techniques
3.00 Participants to carry out survey
4.00 Departure (or earlier if weather foul!)


The Reserve is just north of the village of Sixpenny Handley, which lies north of the A354 Salisbury to Blandford road. Please park as tightly in the carpark as possible, if it is full you can pull in on the left just north of the entrance.

If using Satnav SP5 5PB will get you to just south of the woods, follow up to the northern end to the marked RSPB car park

Google maps - click here

Feedback from previous courses

‘Great course – Dom ensured all of the different levels within the group were catered for, without holding anyone up or making them feel awkward’
‘Great - informative and entertaining! Lots of species learnt’
‘Overall very good, lovely teaching style which kept your interest and attention throughout. Thank you.’
'Dom has got the delivery of the course just right, using various methods to help participants remember details of each species, usually involving a good dose of humour, ensures that we all came away feeling confident of our newfound ID skills. I'm delighted to realise that my brain is still capable of retaining new information, this is mainly down to the expert delivery of the course.'
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