Lowland Hay Meadows Plant Identification Course

Lowland Hay Meadows Plant Identification Course 

Date: Saturday 24th June 2023


Who is the course for?

Anyone with an interest in the natural world who would like to learn more about lowland hay meadows and would like to develop their plant identification skills. Please note the terrain on North Meadow can be uneven and slippery when wet.

Course Content Outline

    • Introduce the lowland hay meadows habitat of North Meadow, its rarity and conservation
    • Cover the key plant species that grow there
    • Understand how the hydrology of floodplain meadows determines where plants grow
    • Discuss how to start developing plant identification skills
    • Visit North Meadow to find some of the key plant species and to practise your identification skills
    • Learn how to use iSpot for identification help and to use iRecord to submit plant species records.

The course will start in the Thames Hall with a presentation and discussion followed by an onsite practical session at North Meadow NNR, returning to the Thames Hall for a short session on submitting species records.

Plant communities

North Meadow Communities
North Meadow Communities

The plant communities can be seen to change with the hydrological gradient. The distribution of species within the meadow can tell you a lot about the site’s history, management, soil fertility and water regime. For example, at North Meadow, Cricklade (photo), the plant communities can be seen to change as the hydrological gradient changes.

David Gowing

Your Tutor: David Gowing. 

David is the Professor of Botany at the Open University.  His research area is the ecohydrology of species-rich vegetation which has taken him to many field sites including the fynbos heath around Cape Town and the floodplain of the River Ob in Siberia.  He has been monitoring the vegetation at Cricklade North Meadow for over 25 years and currently directs the Floodplain Meadow Partnership, which strives to conserve similar sites across the country

Location: Jenner Hall, Cricklade and on site at North Meadow NNR. 

Timing: 10.30 am to 3.30 pm. 

Course cost: £25

What to Bring

    • Notebook and pencil
    • Field guides/keys (if you have one)
    • Hand lens (if you have one)
    • Lunch
    • Water bottle and/or thermos flask
    • Small rucksack or bag
    • Waterproofs (just in case!)
    • Stout shoes, boots or wellies
    • Hat and sunscreen
    • Insect repellent

There will be a person with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. Please let us know as soon as possible if you have special medical or access requirements.