Plant ID & Foraging Feasts


9-11th May 2018

3 day course ¦ Price: £200  

This training experience aims to equip you with a basic identification ability, and a much richer knowledge and appreciation of plants; their diversity and ecological function, application and use in different cultural contexts, different scientific survey techniques along with their edible and medicinal values. The discipline of naming and identifying plants is crucial for land managers; fundamental decisions about habitat management are based on a sound knowledge of plant makeup. This two day course will better equip you gain an understanding & recognition of the top 20 families that constitute 77% of the U.K.’s flora, giving you a launch pad to take it further. It aims to inspire you with different and interesting ways of remembering plants, family groups and ecological strategies.

Who is this training for?

This experience is aimed at;

  • students, trainees and those with ambition for a career in the biodiversity and land management sector
  • those with a fledgling interest in foraging and wild food looking to deepen their knowledge
  • recent graduates starting out in the nature conservation sector
  • volunteers with NGO’s where a basic knowledge of plants will be of huge value.

How it works

The three day workshop will blend botanical skills with the art and understanding of foraging for wild plants.  There will be a mix of practical classroom and ‘in the field’ learning whereby you will get a good understanding and recognition of the main taxonomic plant groups whilst being introduced to a range of different Floras (Dichotomous Keys), that are used to identify plants to species level.   During both days we will be helping you explore the ecological, cultural and historical values/uses of plants culminating in a lunchtime feast on Sunday.  Throughout, we will unlock botanical secrets and introduce you to the top tips in identifying plants that are not revealed in books.

If transport is a problem, we can potentially help with lifts to and from Totnes Train Station.


By the end of the weekend you will have gathered a better understanding of the different values of plants in different contexts;

  • Confidently use a variety of authoritative botanical texts referred to as ‘Floras’ (Dichotomous Keys)
  • Appreciate the structure and nomenclature associated with the U.K’s main wildflower families.
  • Understand the value of accurate identification & biological recording
  • Collect and prepare herbarium specimens for future reference when foraging for plants from difficult taxonomic groups.
  • Consider field skill strategies for reliably identifying plants at different life stages.
  • Talk confidently about the cultural value of different wild plants as linked to food, medicine, folklore.
  • Relate to and adhere to the legal restrictions and laws that govern our native wild plants in a responsible and sustainable fashion.
  • Feel confident in your plant identification as a forager and/or vegetation surveyor.
  • Be aware of strategies for coping with any uncertainties/misgivings in your plant identification.

Who is delivering the training?

Mike Cooke has been working in the conservation sector for over 25 years and he has a passion and specialism in plant identification. He has worked with Ambios since 2005 and has played a continuous role in training aspiring nature conservationists.

Brigit Anna McNeill is a forager extraordinaire. She is on the guild of master foragers and holds a genuine wonderment about the natural world. She has an authentic love of the medicinal and nutritional properties of hedgerow plants, using them in her day to day life and amongst her young family, and an unrivaled ability to pass on this passion to all. Indeed her belief is that a good days foraging fills the belly and brightens the soul.


“I learnt SO much in such a short space of time and the pace of delivery was just right.”

“It didn’t go too fast and I wasn’t afraid to ask questions if I got lost.”

“I enjoyed that we got to go through extra bits and pieces, suited to the questions we had.”

How To Book Your Place

If you would like to join us for this workshop, please complete this registration form and email it to Please pay using the form below.

If you have any further questions you can contact us on 01803 732747 or email

Getting Here
Our address is Lower Sharpham Farm, Ahsprington, Totnes TQ9 7DX. Our nearest train station is 2.5 miles away in Totnes. Directions by foot/bike along the traffic-free cycle path from Totnes.

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