FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

New FSC website launches on 15th October

New FSC Website launches on 15th October

We are in the process of redeveloping this website and plan to launch the new site on 15 October.

Visitors that book and pay for courses on the new site will have to re-register.

However, rest assured that if you book on the current site before 15 October your payment and booking details will be captured and processed.

We apologise for this inconvenience but are convinced you will find the new site much easier to use.

FSC Stories

FSC means different things to different people - the stories below illustrate  how  FSC has touched the hearts and minds of people over the last 7 decades.

To share your FSC story click  here


1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s


1948 Sheila Roome, Leeds - FSC Malham Tarn

I wrote a piece for a competition in the FSC magazine in 1993 when we were celebrating the FSC's 50th Anniversary. Here is a copy of the original article which won first prize in the competition Read More

1948 Gill Brand, Stratford-upon-Avon – FSC Malham Tarn

I first went to Malham Tarn Field Centre for a week in, I think, 1948. There were two of us, 6th formers, from a small Girls’ Grammar School in an industrial West Riding town. It was soon after the Malham Tarn Centre opened and the two of us had daily contact with the Warden, Paul Holmes, or his botanical colleagues. Read More

1949 Jim Green, Emeritus Professor of Zoology, Teddington - FSC Dale Fort

Recently I was tidying one of my filing cabinets, when I came across this diagram , and was immediately transported back over 60 years. In September 1949 I was about to start my second year as an undergraduate studying zoology at Queen Mary College, London. Dale Fort had been open for about a year, and our tutors had encouraged us to take the field course that was to be run around the time of the equinoctial spring tides. Read More

Heather Bardner (nee Twig) FSC FSC Dale Fort and later Assistant Warden FSC Preston Montford

1949 was the last year of Higher School Certificates so we took our examinations earlier than usual leaving six weeks to fill before the end of the school year. Read More


1950 John Hermann, Oxford - FSC Malham

My first visit was to Malham Tarn in about 1950 when I was 15 and I went there again a few times. I remember Charles Sinker mainly for his waistcoats - spectacular! Read More

1950s Tom Nash, Norfolk - FSC Flatford Mill

My earliest memories of the FSC were all at Flatford. Jim Bingley's children were friends of mine, and we used to rove through the Centre, even into the kitchen. Read More

1950s Robin Oakley - son of an early FSC Secretary and Treasurer, FSC Dale Fort and others

My early involvement in the FSC took place in the mid 1950s, when as a teenager I accompanied my father several times on visits to Field Study Centres, and then in 1957 took an archaeology course at Dale Fort. My father, A.G.T. (Gerald) Oakley, was one of a small group of people who played an important role in establishing the FSC in its early years. Read More

1952 Colin Brand, Sussex - FSC Malham Tarn

1952 Spring.I was nearly 17 and a member of the Sevenoaks School group on a trip to Malham Tarn Field Centre. It was the first time I had been north of London. Read More

1953 (and many more) Tessa Carrick, Worcestershire - FSC Dale Fort and others

Ever since 1953 I have been on field courses almost every year and have led them myself for my students. Read More

1953 John W. Cowan, Associate Tutor at Flatford Mill since 1982 - FSC Flatford Mill

While I was attending a Plant Ecology Course at Flatford in July 1953, Jim Bingley, Warden, encouraged me to come on the Fungus Week in the autumn. This I did and immediately became hooked on the study of this group of organisms Read More

1954 Dr Dingle Smith, Australian National University - FSC Malham Tarn

As a (keen) undergraduate at Kings (London) I went on a course in the summer of 1954 to Malham led by Scorer on meteorology - it nearly was a disaster as much of it was concerned with clouds and surprisingly for the first 3 days there was not a cloud in the sky. Read More

1955 Eileen Beaumont, Bristol - FSC Malham Tarn

Malham was the first field study centre I visited as part of a Botany degree at Bedford College. Read More

1955 Margaret Williams ( McDonald) - FSC Flatford Mill

I joined FSC staff in 1955 as Flatford Mill's first resident secretary. Now, nearly sixty years later, I have made a few notes of my time with FSC (then Council for the Promotion of Field Studies) and enjoyed re-living some of the memories.

Read More

1953 John W. Cowan, An Associate Tutor at Flatford since 1982 - FSC Flatford Mill

I first went to Flatford Mill in July 1953 to attend a Plant Ecology Course. I was at that time a Solicitor’s Articled Clerk, but my real interest lay in Botany. On the course I took copious notes and marveled that I seemed to be the only one doing so! Read More

1955 Diana Chadwick, Derbyshire - FSC Juniper Hall

My earliest field course was at Juniper Hall in August 1955. It was memorable for many reasons: Read More

circa 1955 Philip Jones, Dyfed - FSC Juniper Hall

Just a big thanks for this splendid organisation. The concept and philosophy of FSC is marvellous and it has been wonderful to see how courses have evolved and expanded over the years. Read More

1958 onwards Penny Berry and Anne Paterson, Sudbury - FSC Flatford Mill

Flatford Mill has many happy associations for me and my mother Anne Paterson (now aged 99) Read More

1957 John W. Cowan, Associate Tutor at Flatford Mill since 1982 memories of FSC Dale Fort

The following are extracts from a diary I kept while attending a course on the Pembrokeshire Coast, its Scenery and Natural History at FSC Dale Fort Read More

1959 and 1960 Martie Glover nee Volkov, Wiltshire - Skokholm Bird Observatory

What memories still remain of my two seasons as cook at the Bird Observatory on Skokholm (an island off the Pembrokehsire Coast) after more than 50 years? I must admit that they are somewhat dream-like now. People and birds and the beauty of the place remain, and not in any particular order as they say.

Read More

1959 Letters home from FSC Preston Montford

FSC has received several old postcards that were written by students staying at Preston Montford which give a wonderful insight into FSC of the late 1950s. Read More


1960 Prof Jeff Duckett - FSC Malham Tarn

Way back in the mists of time (actually it was a very wet day back in April 1960) at the the age of just 16 I was on the first day of my first ever FSC field course at Malham Tarn. Read More

1960 Marie Betteridge, Wantage - FSC Flatford Mill and many other centres

After 50 years some memories are still vivid but many are hazy but I do know that a chance find led me to interesting and beautiful places at which I met many inspiring wardens and FSC staff not forgetting like minded fellow course members. An ideal way to spend holidays when gong solo and enhancing ones knowledge and love of the natural world. Read More

early 1960s Pat Edwards, North Harrow - FSC Dale Fort

My first contact with the Field Studies Council was back in the early 1960s. I was on holiday in Pembrokeshire and joined a group who were exploring one of the beaches near Dale. Read More

early 1960s Mary Lanyon, Salisbury - FSC Flatford Mill

I have 2 vivid memories of staying at Flatford Mill, while on a school biology trip: Read More

1962 John Bebbington, retired Head of Juniper Hall, Somerset - FSC Malham Tarn

Now over 70 years old, I have been interested in invertebrates for most of my life (my parents said that I started at the age of two!). Attending Insect Week at FSC Malham Tarn was an absolute revelation. Read More

1963 Gill Smith, Leeds - FSC Preston Montford

Preston Montford was the venue for my A Level Geography field course in 1963. Read More

1964 Susan Robertson (nee Martyr), West Lothian – FSC Flatford Mill and Secretary at FSC Orielton 1967 -68

My first course was at Flatford Mill ‘March Fen and Drainage’. In 1965 I went to Malham for ‘Gelology and Scenery’. There the Pennine Way had just taken place. In 1966 I walked the Pennine way with two Australian nurses whom I found by advertising in the Youth Hostel Magazine. Read More

1964 Jim Atkinson, Emeritus Professor of Marine Biology, University Marine Biological Station Millport - FSC Dale Fort

My visit to Dale Fort as an A-level student was a career forming event. Read More

circa 1966 Ralph E Ireland , Nottingham - FSC Orielton

I attended a Field Studies course in August 1966 at Orielton including a visit to Skomer . Sadly, I have never been able to get to another, but I did become a Life Member that year. Read More

1966 Dr Steve Trudgill, Robinson College, Cambridge - FSC Malham Tarn

Discovering Malham Tarn as an undergraduate started a life long relationship with FSC. 'I have spent a lot of time doing things for the FSC because I believe in it, the FSC has given me so much that I shall always feel indebted to it.' Read More

1968 Dr Cuillin Bantock, London - FSC Nettlecombe Court

It began by default. At the beginning of 1968 we found that we had left it too late to make a booking at Dale Fort where we traditionally took our students for their fieldwork. Read More

1969 Chris Ledbury, Powys - FSC Malham Tarn

In 1969 I arrived to begin two wonderful years as tutor at Malham... Read More


1970 - 1974 Rebecca O'Meara, Yorkshire - first Deputy Warden FSC Epping Forest

In 1970 I was appointed as the first Deputy Warden of the new Epping Forest Field Centre. Each Christmas I wrote a letter to my friends - the extracts which follow give an insight into the early days of FSC's first day Centre. Read More

1970s Ellen Carolan, Southwell - FSC Malham Tarn

I have happy memories of many FSC courses but one sticks clearly in my mind - a course on diptera taught by Henry Disney. Read More

1970 Helen W H Coultas, York - FSC Flatford Mill

I have, over the years, been on several FSC courses, which I greatly enjoyed as well as learning something new. My favourite course was The River Stour - from source to sea. We learnt about the social, industrial and art histories that occurred along its course, as well as its flora and fauna. It was an intensive course but very interesting.

1971 Sue Newman - FSC Orielton

My first experience of the FSC was on an A level Biology fieldtrip to Orielton in 1971 when I felt as though I had been transported out of the West Midlands to paradise. I thought the house, the estate and the whole of the coastline was beautiful. Read More

1972 Lorna Shipp, Betws-y-coed - FSC Nettlecombe Court , The Leonard Wills Centre

My field courses (two of which were at FSC Centres) were probably the most inspirational and most memorable part of my education. Read More

1973 Steve Tilling, FSC Director of Communications - FSC Dale Fort

My parents never forgave the FSC. Read More

1973 Adrian Shaw, Cardiff - FSC Orielton

I was 17 and studying for my A level Biology at Fareham Technical College in Hampshire. Being my first visit to Wales I remember the stunning landscapes, traveling through Brecon and on west to Orielton. Read More

1974 Judie Baker, Suffolk - FSC Orielton

I have limited memories of my time at Orielton nearly 40 years ago but a few things I remember clearly. We visited the shoreline and studied the plant and animal life that lived above and below the tideline and how they had adapted to what seemed to me a very precarious life. Read More

1974 Graham Proudlove, Todmorden - FSC Malham Tarn

I was one of a group of nine who went on an A level Biology field course to Malham Tarn in September 1974(see the photograph), the beginning of the final year at school. I was not doing very well with my A levels and did not know what I was going to do after school. Read More

1975 Allan Jenkinson, Glasgow - FSC Dale Fort

Lots of happy memories. Attended a seabirds course between 3rd and 4th year at Strathclyde University. Dave Emerson offered me the chance to work over the summer crewing Lord Hurcombe and helping out. Read More

1975 Debbie Prouse, Caithness - FSC Dale Fort

I lived in the fort in 1975/76 when I was 7 years old, my dad was the chef, Ron Smith and my mum Joan helped out as well, my sister, Julie was 11. Read More

1975 Michael Horsley, Durham - FSC Malham Tarn

I first came to FSC Malham with my wife Angela in the 70’s after a WEA botany course at Durham University Extra Mural Department run by Dr Margaret Bradshaw. It was amazing! Read More

1978 Steve Ormerod, Chair of RSPB Council and Professor of Ecology Cardiff School of Biosciences - FSC Juniper Hall

My first ever job - at £7.25 per week plus lodging - was at Juniper Hall as an undergraduate on a placement year in 1978-79. Read More

1978 Rob Lucas, FSC Chief Executive - FSC Slapton

The start of a FSC career as a placement students at Slapton. Read More

1979 Tom Tew, Lincolnshire - FSC Malham Tarn

A school field trip and 30 years later I was Natural England's Chief Scientist. Read More

late 1970s Alan Fordham, Middlesex - FSC Malham Tarn

During the 1970s I became involved in managing a fenland nature reserve in Suffolk and wanted to learn more about the plants and animals that are associated with the fens. This was the first time I found about the FSC and the courses it offered to adults. Read More


1980 Jennie Comerford (nee Wallace-Hadrill) - FSC Malham Tarn

I attended an A level Geography course at Malham Tarn Field Centre partly taught by none other than Edward Jackson (former Head of Flatford Mill). I loved the week long course - Read More

1980? Margaret Champion, Stratford-upon-Avon – FSC Nettlecombe Court

I can’t remember the year, but at Nettlecombe Court we watched the comet – marvellous there, where there was no ‘light pollution’!

1980s Peter Smithers, Plymouth University - FSC Juniper Hall

My official introduction to spiders was on a Field Studies Council course at Box Hill, run by the late Francis Murphy. Read More

early 1980s Noel Jackson, Associate Tutor since the 1980s - FSC Malham Tarn

I first visited Malham Tarn Field Centre with the extra-mural department of Durham University and was delighted to be asked back as a tutor. Read More

1980 Jenny Lundh, Exeter - FSC Preston Montford followed by Slapton and Dale

I will always remember that the 1980s for me were a time of sun, sea and fieldwork instead of most people’s experiences of big hair, big shoulder pads and big mobile phones. Read More

1981 Jacky Chase, Huddersfield - FSC Preston Montford

Lots of great memories that I still carry with me, even though it was a long time ago now..... Read More

1982 Penny Johnes, Prof Freshwater Science, University of Reading - FSC Orielton

Like Jo Harris (Spring 2013 issue FSC Magazine), I attended an A-Level biology field course at Orielton FSC, but 15 years earlier, in 1982. Read More

1984 Sue Townsend, Shropshire - FSC Preston Montford

From first wanting to learn how to identify yellow dandelion-like plants to working as Biodiversity Learning Manager and the exciting role of managing biodiversity initiatives such as the Biodiversity Fellowship for the FSC. Read More

1985 Emma Austin , Cumbria - FSC Preston Montford

My A level biology field course is still one of my never to be forgotten memories. Long but fantastic days (I wonder if the 24 hour invertebrate drift study still happens?) - Someone put a fish in my cup of tea! Read More

1988 Tom Stamp, Pembrokeshire - FSC Nettlecombe Court and FSC Preston Montford

I was a 6th Form student at the John Bentley School, Calne, Wilts. We visited Nettlecombe in May as part of our A Level Biology course. Read More

late 1980s Noel Jackson, Ebchester - FSC Preston Montford

I have three happy memories from the late eighties from Preston Montford. Read More


1990 Carolyn Watkins, Woking - FSC Dale Fort

I visited Dale Fort one May and we had glorious weather and walked the Coast Path amidst swathes of thrift. Read More

1993 Jennie Wallace-Hadrill and Dirk Comerford

1993 saw the marriage of one ex-FSC tutor and one ex-FSC university placement student! Nine FSC couples attended the wedding! Jennie Wallace-Hadrill became Mrs Dirk Comerford and we are just about to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary!

circa 1993 Alan Flack, Okehampton - FSC Nettlecombe Court

There was a period 15 -20 years ago at Nettlecombe Court when I found extraordinary peace and contentment which has stayed with me ever since. Read More

1996 Sharon Flint, North Yorkshire - FSC Orielton

My first experience of FSC was on an ecology field course at Orielton in 1996. I was hooked. Three years later, I took up a post as centre assistant at Juniper Hall. Now I am an associate tutor at Malham Tarn, teaching an introduction to aquatic invertebrates. FSC changed my life !

1997 Daniel Moncrieff, North Wales - FSC Slapton

The fieldtrip was a key factor in why I decided to choose geography as an A-level subject over history. We went to Slapton Ley, in deepest darkest Devon. Read More

1997 Jo Harris, FSC tutor - FSC Orielton

From A level Biology and Robin Crump's Save the Starfish Mission to FSC London. Read More


2000 Natalie Buttriss, CEO of The Vincent Wildlife Trust - FSC Nettlecombe Court

I went on a joint Mammal Society/FSC 'Introduction to mammals' course when I was heading up the marketing for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Little did I know then that... Read More

2002 Clare O'Reilly,Cumbria - FSC Blencathra

I love the FSC and have many memories ( I certainly would never have changed career without it or managed to learn field botany so fast) but I chose a very personal memory because I really think your organisation changes lives in every way imaginable. Read More

2002 Ivor Randles, Oldham - FSC Malham Tarn

I was working at the time with adults with learning disabilities and the FSC had determined to ensure that its facilities were accessible to all. Read More

2003 Alice Kendrick, Biggleswade - FSC Orielton

A friend had to borrow some waterproof trousers for the fieldwork on the shoreline. They were bright yellow with a big purple patch on the back - Read More

2006 Daniel Farnes, Isle of Wight - FSC Orielton

I first heard of and stayed with the FSC at university, which my uni called the largest field course in Britain. Apparently many unis claim this, interestingly all basing themselves at FSC centres. I was impressed by the facilities at Slapton and by the intro to the charity and its mission told to us by the centre manager. Read More

2009 Hsin Yi Lin, The Environmental Professionals Training Institute - FSC Orielton

2009 Taiwan Forest Bureau Study Visit. The study visit programme hosted by Field Studies Council at Orielton, Margam Park and Epping Forest Field Centres. Read More


2010 onwards Jenny Flake, Bath - FSC Malham , Dale Fort and more

Although a relatively new FSC leisure learner my memories are already very varied. Read More

2012 Dr David Slawson, OPAL Director - FSC Orielton

Oh dear, my FSC experience appears upside down. First, I became a life member because I had fallen in love with your identification guides to aid my poor skills whilst out walking. Read More

2014 Liv Cairns, FSC Young Darwin Scholar - FSC Dale Fort

In the summer I went on the marine science camp at Dale Fort field centre and I had one of the best weeks I've ever had. Read More