Day And Residential Courses 2020 VIRUS alert - all cancelled until OCT

Thursday March 19th 10.00 am - 4.00 pm Trees, Stories about Plants and Easter - in Glossop
A day of three sessions. In Praise of Trees will look at the natural history and history of our native trees and examine the many uses to which they have been put. Stories about Plants will include plants in poetry, medicinal plants and those we used in the war. The final session will look at the Easter story.To be held at Bradbury House, Market Street, Glossop. Organised by the Glossop Guild. To book and pay for the course please visit

Saturday March 28th 11.00 am - 3.00 pm Two Talks - one about the Oak Tree, the other about Mushrooms - in Disley
The morning session will cover The Oak Tree in legend, history, literature and natural history with a section on the many important uses to which timber and other parts of the tree have been put. The afternoon session will look at marvellous mushrooms and fascinating fungi including a section on edible, poisonous and hallucinogenic fungi and those that have been used in medicine. To be held at Disley Methodist Church, 70 Buxton Road, Disley SK12 2EA  includes lunch, tea and coffee - organised by WEA Disley phone 0300 303 3464 for further details and booking

Thursday May 26th Time??  Medicinal and Edible plants Ancient and Modern at Creswell Crags
Further details to follow Patrick will be one of the speakers on this day school

There will be books to look at and illustrated talks to augment the forays in to the crags to find some of the plants mentioned in the talks. From wild garlic and dandelion coffee to the medicinal use of plants such as chickweed, raspberry and water mint.
For further details and booking details  see or phone 01909 720378

Saturday June 13th 10.00 am - 5.00 pm The Plant Hunters - based in Oxford
A day school to be held at Rewley House,1 Wellington Square for Oxford University.
A course covering some 400 years highlighting some of the plant hunters who brought back some of our favourite garden plants from many different parts of the world. In addition to illustrations of the plants they found we will look at their lives and the difficulties they encountered. We will include the two John Tradescants, the two Hookers, David Douglas and 'Chinese'Wilson.
More details and booking    phone 01865 270 368         30% booked up by late 2019

Sunday June 21st 10.30 am - 4.00 pm  The Medicinal Properties of Plants in the Attenborough Nature Reserve
A day school organised by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust  and based at the wonderful Attenborough Nature Reserve just to the south west of Nottingham. Includes a buffet lunch. A day featuring displays of books and herbal remedies, illustrated talks on the history of the medicinal uses of plants plus details as to how chemicals in some famous herbal plants work in the body. There will also be two forays into the reserve to find and identify wild plants that have been used medicinally.
Further information and booking from

Friday June 26th - Sunday June 28th Plants as Foraged Food and Medicine in Wiltshire
A weekend (Friday evening to Sunday lunch time) at the wonderful Lower Shaw farm in Swindon where Patrick has been leading courses for over 30 years. With illustrated talks, lots of books to peruse and forays to look for both edible wild plants and those that have medicinal properties - we may even eat some of our finds/ make some interesting drinks and concoct a few medicinal preparations. Fully residential with super vegetarian/vegan/gf food but also available on a non-residential basis. For further information and booking contact or phone 01793 771080

Monday July 6th Food for Free (edible wild plants) and Medicinal Plants at Creswell Crags
A day school looking at useful wild plants. Illustrated talks on plants for food and drink and also about plants with medicinal properties. Includes trips out to look at wild plants and to learn how to identify them. There will also be specimens,medicines and a display of useful books. Bring a picnic lunch or get food and drink in the excellent cafe.
Further information and booking from   phone 01909 720378

July 24th - 26th (Fri to Sun) Alder, Ash and Mountain Ash in Natural History, History and Literature - in Cambridge
A multidisciplinary course run by the University of Cambridge based at Madingley Hall to the west of Cambridge, set in a Capability Brown landscape, and offering a very high standard of en-suite accommodation and good food. The course starts with dinner on Friday and runs until lunch on Sunday. A total of 7 different sessions which include history and legend, the identification of our native species and related introduced ones, natural history of alder, ash and mountain ash woodlands plus the many different uses to which the trees have been put. One session will look at the trees in poetry and prose. Outdoor sessions will allow us to examine the trees both in the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge and in the grounds at Madingley.
Further information and booking  or phone 01223 746262 

Mon July 20th - Fri July 24th Cambridge University International Summer Programme - The Medicinal Properties of Plants
A series of 5 afternoon sessions starting with a look at the history of plants used in medicine and then looking in detail at some of the more important chemical groups found in plants and which have important medicinal properties. These will include alkaloids, coumarins and essential oils which are still used  in the treatment of cancer, diabetes and for the prevention of blood clots. The Friday session will take place at the famous Cambridge Botanic Garden where we will follow the new Medicines from Plants trail and examine some of the plants mentioned in the lectures. Part of a science programme which includes morning plenary lectures and evening events plus optional outings. Accommodation is available at a number of the Cambridge colleges.
Patrick is also offering a 10 session interdisciplinary course on the same subject running from July 20th to July 31st.
Ask to see the full Cambridge University International Summer Programme booklet - for more information phone 01223760850 or Email or visit the website

Sunday September 13th  Nature in the Spital Cemetary, Chesterfield     NOW CANCELLED due to Covid
To be confirmed - More details to follow.

Saturday September 26th  Plants in the Service of Mankind based in Oxford NOW CANCELLED due to Covid
A day school (10.00 am - 5.00 pm) at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, for Oxford University
A new course which will examine how plants (especially cereals) help to feed us. One session will look at plants that provide drinks such as tea and coffee; we will also follow the history of wine and beer making. Plants that help clothe us such as cotton and hemp will be included along with plants providing us with rubber and paper. The final session will look at timber products plus a brief journey into musical instruments and cricket bats!
More details and booking from or phone 01865270368

Friday October 2nd - Sunday October 4th   Mushrooms and Toadstools in Wiltshire
Based at the wonderful Lower Shaw Farm in Swindon this is a residential weekend starting on Friday evening and finishing after lunch on Sunday with lovely vegetarian/vegan/gf food but also available on a non-residential basis. There will be lots of specimens and books to peruse plus illustrated talks on fungi and their identification - on Saturday there will be a full foray to an ancient wood to find and enjoy species in their habitat and hopefully collect some edible ones! Lower Shaw Farm, Old Shaw Lane, Swindon, Wilts information and booking  or phone 01793 771080

Saturday October 10th or Saturday Oct 24th (11.00 am - 3.30 pm) Mushrooms in Nottinghamshire
Organised by Forestry England (Forestry Commission) and based in the Sherwood Pines Forest Park near Edwinstowe. A day of illustrated talks, book reviews, handouts and two forays into the forest. Learn how to go about identifying our common fungi and especially the edible species. Book early for either day - last year people were turned away when we were fully booked.
Further details and bookings from or phone 01623 821459

Saturday November 28th Christmas and its Customs - in Oxford   NOW CANCELLED due to Covid
A day school (10.00 am - 5.00 pm) at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, for Oxford University
Back by popular demand this course will attempt to set the record straight as to the place, year and season of the birth of Jesus and delve behind the story of kings, shepherds and the stable. When did Herod die and why was December 25th chosen as the birth date of Christ? How has the last thousand years seen changes to the celebration of Christmas in Britain and when was it banned? Changes from Victorian times have had a huge impact on our current customs but was Prince Albert the first person to introduce the Christmas tree from Germany? From holly and ivy to turkey with cranberries - Christmas never stays the same. Most importantly we will discover the difference between Father Christmas and the much later Santa Claus.
More details and booking Phone 01865 270368