The Kingcombe Centre

home Home | News | About Us | Contact Us, Directions & Opening Times

Historical Ecology of a Spring Dorset Landscape

Tue 25 - Thur 27 Apr 2017

Mt Pleasant Lane 4 100520

Image: Tony Bates     

Uncover the hidden stories of the trees, woodlands and hedgerows that define the ancient Dorset landscape.

Our landscape is full of clues about its past, reflecting the impact that humankind has had on the landscape as well as the influence of geology and climate.  These clues lie in the local archaeology, in the materials used to build the villages and towns of the area, in the ancient trees that are still to be found in good numbers in West Dorset and in the flora of the hedgerows and the woodlands.

This will involve detective work where you will spend as much of it as possible out of doors, examining the different kinds of evidence which provide clues to the history of our landscape.  Evening lectures, early documents and maps will add support to what you see during the day.

As a result, you will look at the countryside through different eyes.  Everything you see will tell a story which is part of a web of stories.  It will be an inspiring course which will embrace all aspects of the landscape, its history and natural history, in an infectious, energetic, but light-hearted way.  This is a super time to visit; the early woodland flowers will be visible; the bluebells may well be at their best (depending on the season); the leaves on the trees will be at their freshest; the birds will be in full song and we may see some early butterfly species.

Note: there will be a fair amount of walking over rough terrain most days.  Please be prepared for this and for some standing in the woods as you listen to discussion points.

About the Leader:

Bryan Edwards is a native of Dorset and since 1991 he has worked as surveyor and ecologist for Dorset Environmental Records Centre based in Dorset, and is county recorder for bryophytes, fungi and lichens.  He is author or co-author of a number of books on the county’s wildlife include bryophytes, grasshoppers & bush-crickets, rare plants and the wildlife of the Jurassic Coast.  He has been involved with the Kingcombe Centre since its inception and knows the Kingcombe Meadows Reserve very well, having undertaken a vegetation survey in 2000, led numerous walks, and run courses on bryophyte and lichen identification.


£289 pp Residential  -  includes 2 nights sole occupancy accommodation, full board including a home-cooked breakfast, tea/cake, lunch and 3 course dinner, all tuition/activities.

£209 pp Non-Residential  -  includes all of the above except accommodation and breakfast.


The course will start at 6pm on Tuesday with dinner and an introductory lecture. Residents are welcome to arrive from 3pm.  The course will finish at approximately 4pm on Thursday with afternoon tea.

What to bring: 

Weatherproof clothing; walking boots or wellingtons will be needed, plus a rucksack to carry your lunch.  Cameras and binoculars, notebooks and pencils would also be useful.  

info2   book
Book online by clicking the BOOK button or call the Booking Office on 01300 320684.  
Please read our Terms and Conditions before booking

Download or view an Information Sheet by clicking on the Info button

Comments from previous events:

What a fabulous place, and Brian led the historical ecology course very well, wearing his erudition lightly.  Really appreciated the abundant and delicious food, and warm welcome - Miranda.

This was a great weekend, the course leader knew his stuff, particularly about plants, and communicated his enthusiasm as well as the information.  The handouts were really helpful and made clear the points he was making about the connection between geology and plant life and human activity.  I came away with an understanding of what to look out for in other landscapes which is just what I'd hoped for - Sarah.

Hazel 2 Marys Well Lane-001

Kingcombe sunset - Copy-001