New Courses in 2016


Using Poland’s Vegetative Flora at Three Hagges Wood-Meadow

Friday September 30th 10am-4pm

led by Mark Duffell

This is the third of a series of three courses that Hagge Woods Trust will be running at the wood-meadow this year, focusing on botanical identification skills. Focusing on practical skills, with group and individual keying out in the classroom and field; this course is ideal for amateur or professional botanists/ecologists both in the voluntary or ecological sector. No prior knowledge of botany is required, although the more knowledge you come with the more you will get out of the course.
Course Overview:
In many books and courses the focus of plant identification is on flowers, with foliage taking a back seat. This has changed with the new Vegetative Key to the British Flora by John Poland, which relies solely on using vegetative characters for identification. In the short time that ‘Poland’ has been available it has been taken to heart by botanists and ecologists as it enables them to make accurate identifications and effectively extends the botanical field season.

Concentrating on the characters used in ‘Poland’ you will discover how easy it can be to make an accurate identification. Using a hand lens or microscope you will come to marvel at the structures and details to be found in even the commonest species.
Working through the ‘Flora’ together participants will discover a range of characters that regularly crop up in the key and, these will be further illustrated with specimens and presentations.

We also offer a Certificate of Attendance (6 hours) at all of our courses.

The wood-meadow is our ecosystem creation project, and though only in its fourth year, it already contains 28 species of British native trees and shrubs, and almost 200 species of meadow flora, including native wildflowers, grasses and sedges. You can read more about them on the Resources page. It is a truly diverse and very beautiful location to come and learn or improve your identification skills.

Places are limited so book soonest!

For full information, you can download our leaflet, Plant Identification Using the Vegetative Key,  by clicking this link

You can book online here:


Alternatively, for leaflet and booking form details, you can email your request to



Education for Schools 

school girls wildflowers

Resources for Summer 2016

Three Hagges Wood, a community wood-meadow near the A19 between Escrick and Riccall on the south side of York, provides wonderful opportunities for schoolchildren to learn about their local environment (trees, plants, insects and mammals) in its natural setting.  Below, we explain how we can support your teaching and we encourage you to bring a school party to visit the wood meadow.  The Summer term is an especially glorious time to visit, while the wood meadow is in full bloom, but you would be equally welcome to visit in another season.

In partnership with OPAL (Open Air Learning Project), based at the University of York, we have developed five study packs, each focussing on topics covered in the National Curriculum. The five packs are: food chains, meadows, pond dipping, spring pollination and summer seed dispersal. These packs are designed to be self guided, and contain all resources required for the visit.  This allows a flexible approach to access, and teachers can bring groups without requiring input from the woodland team.  The packs are aimed at up to 30 children from Key Stages One and Two.  There may be other topics which you would like to investigate, and supervised visits can be arranged.

If you have any queries before you book a visit please email  We realise that before bringing a school party you may wish to make a pre visit to the wood meadow for the purposes of a risk assessment, so we look forward to hearing from you and discussing your plans.

The list of available topics currently comprises:

Food Chains

Science Living things and their habitats – food chains, classifications and reasons for classifications.


Science – Working scientifically – observation, identification and classification, gathering and recording data, suggesting answers based on observation, gathering and recording data.

Plantsidentify and describe structure of plants, identify and name garden plants and trees, identify and describe structure

Geography – geographical skills and fieldwork – use compass directions

Mathematics – measurements – compare lengths and heights, measure and record lengths and heights

Art and design – Use drawing to share experience

Pond Dipping

Using pond dipping nets, in a controlled environment, to catch pond invertebrates, which are placed in big trays, and caught in small microscopes, or pooters, for easy observation.


Working scientifically – Observation, and using a key, to key out pond invertebrates and identify species.

Living things and their habitats – food chains, classification, and reasons for classification, all as observed in the trays – a microcosm of biodiversity. Compare the numbers of eg water fleas to mayfly larvae. Compare trays with invertebrates from different areas of the pond

Spring Pollination

Science Working scientifically -observation, tests, identification and classification, suggesting answers based on observation, gathering and recording data, observations and measurements, diagrams and charts

Plants – identify and name garden plants and trees,  identify and describe structure, identify and describe the functions of parts of plants, transportation of water, explore the role of parts of plants in life cycle

Seasonal changes

Living things and their habitats  – Classifications and reasons for classifications

Mathematics  Measurements – compare lengths and heights, measure and record lengths and heights, measure , compare, add and subtract lengths in standard units

Art and design – Use drawing to share experiences, Create sketch books to record observations and use them to review and revisit ideas.

Summer Seed Dispersal

Science : Working scientifically – tests and observations

Plants – observe how seeds grow into plants, growing conditions for plants

Living things and their habitats – life processes of reproduction in plants