Being able to identify and understand the properties of plants, trees and fungi is at the heart of becoming a great woodsman or women.
Identification and uses of evergreen and deciduous trees in both summer and winter. Identification and uses of plants from woodlands, wetlands, heath, chalk and coast. Identification and uses of fungi, plant history and ecology, woodland history, wild foods, pros and cons of wild medicines and herbal first aid, directional indicators, working with fibers, natural dyes, saps and resins, plants and nutrition, plant chemicals and toxins and nomenclature.
What's it about?
This course focuses on the world of plants, trees and fungi covering in depth identification and uses. It is not a carving style craft course although many other traditional crafts together with bushcraft applications will be covered. A big focus will be on the seasonality of the species and how they can be used. Each block is designed to cover a certain habitat and specific area of study. Wild foods form a theme running throughout the programme. Study is weighted towards the student being able to identify with confidence an array of plants, trees and fungi to species level. Ecology and history will also be studied enabling the student to spot relationships within plant and fungal communities. It is estimated we will be covering around 250 -300 species on this programme. We do not try to learn every single specices found in the UK but instead focus on the most useful and effective in the time given. We often cover the uses of keys to identify species but prefer to learn plants as our ancesters did by getting to know individuals extremely well.
The course will run in series of three and two day blocks. The timetable is programmed so that students are tested on species covered in the preceding block each time they attend as appropriate.
You may also be interested in our Plant Identification for Wildfood and Medicine
Dates 2017 - 18 Days
- 6 - 8 April
- 11 - 13 May
- 8 - 9 June
- 6 - 8 July
- 14 - 15 September
- 1 - 2 October
- 23 - 25 November
Practical Ethnobotany and Plant Identification Level 4
Please read the following information before booking:
Please note this is a self catered course and although it is non residential you are welcome to camp at our site if you prefer. It is also possible to arrive the evening before but please call us to discuss this option. There will be some travel to other venues although we will endeavor to car share as much as possible.
You need to be over 18 years of age to attend this programme.
6 April 2017 FULL - CANCELLATION LIST
Course: Practical Ethnobotany and Plant Identification NCFE IIQ Level 4
Location: Nr Midhurst, West Sussex
Course Leader: John Rhyder
Course Size: 12 (maximum)
Cost Per Person: £1,250 (Deposit £150)
January 2017- Woodcraft School
This course was everything that I could have hoped for and more. Knowledge of plants, trees and the natural materials around us sits at the heart of outdoor
living and completing this course will give you a comprehensive base for your learning in these areas. Having limited ID skills coming onto the course it was incredibly useful to have John and Phil's encyclopedic knowledge and quality tuition there to 'bridge the gap' from just reading about trees and plants in text books to 'knowing' well over a hundred on an intricate level.
The course is very hands-on and practical which was fantastic for consolidating our learning and seeing the physical attributes of the flora we looked at manifest themselves in crafts, foods, medicine and other practical ways. Seeing the trees and plants over three seasons and in different stages of growth is also a brilliant experience and one that helped tremendously in my understanding. The human relationship with the natural world is emphisized throughout as is sustainable harvesting and conservation, adding more value and a unique dynamic to the syllabus.
It is not an easy course and much independent learning will be needed in order to pass. However this is what makes completing it so much more of an achievement! It is also what has inspired me and given me the confidence to continue to build my own knowledge. After all the learning never stops!
November 2016- Woodcraft School
Thank you John and Phil for an unforgettable year- my knowledge has increased ten-fold, in many more ways than I could have imagined. Your teaching style and humour makes everything all the more enjoyable. Not only have I come away with new knowledge, friends and skills, but also a deeper respect for the many ways in which plants, trees and fungi can lend themselves to a myriad of different uses. From medicine, fire, craft and (not forgetting!) food, to name but a few, you have emphasized how every season can provide a rich bounty. It's an absolute pleasure to recommend this course to others, it's brilliant to see something on Ethnobotany which isn't purely academic. I also loved how you recognized limits to your own knowledge and called in experts in certain fields to ensure we had a well-informed, balanced experience. My long journey from Ireland each month was always worth it and I came away new ideas and projects. I'm really looking forward to the year ahead to put everything into practice once again! Thanks so much!
January 2016 - Woodcraft School
This was a truly incredible course, offering lots of opportunities to consolidate the wide breadth of information covered. The mix of practical, craft based learning and scientific theory kept things interesting, useful, and engaging. The method of assessment was great, as it mixed seasonal and habitat based ID tests with documented evidence of learning, and tree and plant herbariums which make useful resources for the future. I have never been on such a useful fungi course, which provided an excellent ID overview. If you can go on this course, I can't recommend it enough. I learnt so much and feel very lucky to have benefited from both the excellent teachers and the knowledge and support of the other students.
January 2016 - Woodcraft School
I completed this course in 2015 and found it fascinating, discovering many new skills that I would never otherwise have come across and that I will go on to develop further. John spent a lot of patience and time encouraging our identification skills of a large range of plants, trees and fungi from lots of different locations ranging from coastal to heathland and woodlands to meadows. However we didn't just learn these as a dry list of names we learnt about their traditional uses; cooking, medicine, construction, toolmaking as a few examples. We then tried these uses for ourselves, collecting plants and cooking with them, making medicinal tinctures and trying traditional crafts such as dyeing, papermaking and barkwork. These experiences have enabled me to talk about our native plants with much more depth of knowledge than just knowing their names and has also very much helped prepared me for an Ecology course. I recommend this course to anyone who enjoys 'the outdoors' whether it be for professional uses or personal interest Thank you very much John and Woodcraft School.
December 2015 - Woodcraft School
For anyone wishing to have an in-depth knowledge of UK flora and habitats I would highly recommend doing woodcraft schools ethnobotany course. The course covered several hundred species of flora and fungi over 8 months covering the seasons and when you finish you really do feel you have a knowledge of the subject. Field trips cover a variety of different habitats and species which grow on them. Edible, medicinal and natural history are covered also. This course is very much a practical one. You actually go out foraging for wild food, cooking and eating it. You learn about medicinal properties of plants and try those too. You learn, discover and practice the uses for a whole plant, and this course covered several hundred of them. John and Tim both have a massive knowledge in this subject, and have a very down to earth and unique style of teaching. This course in my opinion would be excellent for anyone wanting to embark on a career where surveying flora was a requirement. It is also accredited to a level 4 by the N.C.F.E which makes it a higher education qualification. Many thanks for an excellent course.
November 2015 - Woodcraft School
"Having just successfully completed my final assessment, I felt obliged to pass comment on this course. As a teacher working full time outdoors I would consider myself to have had a better knowledge of the plants trees and animals of much of the British Isles than most people at the start of the course. However, the confidence I have gained from the experience cannot be overstated. This extends way beyond merely being able to identify most of the plants trees I encounter and many of the fungi, to having established more of a relationship with them, which of course means the information is far more likely to be permanently retained".
"The course has enhanced my understanding of the plants and their environments, their past and present uses, and given me experience of working with them in a number of different ways, both practical and medicinal. I have thoroughly enjoyed each attendance as we have followed the seasons from spring to winter, and now find wh erever I am my eyes are constantly drawn to the hedgerows, verges and foliage, looking for things of interest with a new understanding. The venue, for those who don't know it, is a beautiful mixed woodland with a good breadth and depth of plant tree and fungi diversity which makes for an excellent " classroom" for this subject. This is supported by a series of field trips to various different habitats from coastal, to chalk grassland, riverside, ancient forest, heath land and more. The course is delivered by John Rhyder in his own unique style, with plenty of hands on experience of the species, opportunity to ask questions and a very friendly and pleasant learning environment. I cant recommend the course highly enough to anyone who is serious about getting a good level of understanding of the flora of a broad range of different British habitats. Thanks very much woodcraft School".