Bespoke courses

Would you like us to run a bespoke course for your own organisation? We can design and run courses to suit your particular needs. Contact us for a quote and see our Training page for more details.

Some feedback from our courses

"In general I thought that it was very well structured with challenging questions and activities set that helped to stretch my knowledge and understanding of how the NVC works. You were always very prompt in responding with helpful feedback on my answers. I feel more confident at identifying NVC communities now. I think that distance learning over a longer period is a great way to learn as it spreads the learning over a longer time period and hopefully this helps to embed it more in the brain. Nicole Dunn, on our 'Identifying NVC communities' distance learning course in 2018.
"I have enjoyed the course - it is well structured which gives an incentive to get out and look for bryophytes. The feedback is good and very necessary as otherwise too many times one just goes round in circles without help. I think the course has left me wanting to do more.Margaret Harris, on our 'Bryophyte Identification' distance learning course in 2017.
"I thought the course was brilliant. I enjoyed it and learnt a lot. I cannot think of a better way to learn how to identify bryophytes: picking a sample, trying to identify it and then obtaining feedback. This way one can learn from mistakes and gain confidence for the future while, at the same time, creating a collection of samples with confirmed identification which will be incredibly useful going forward.James Brockbank, on our 'Bryophyte Identification' distance learning course in 2017.
"Easy to understand and good for beginners. Feel like I can continue with key and practise more.Jody Ferguson, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, on our 'Introduction to sedge identification' course for CWT in 2016.
"Good mix of classroom/fieldwork, as well as sitting listening/doing work ourselves. The course was enjoyable and interesting. I felt confident in asking questions and felt that questions were answered fully and clearlyLaura Thompson, on our 'Introduction to Phase 1 Habitat Survey' course for Econorth Ltd. in 2016.
"I really enjoyed keying out in the field. I liked the repitition of features and trying out surveying. John is an excellent, patient teacher.Ruth Starr-Keddle, North Pennines AONB Partnership, on our 'Sphagnum Identification & Ecology' course in 2016.
"Thanks - Well designed course, as building on earlier elements. Good pace and materials. Great site for survey. Helpful & knowledgeable trainer. I have always wanted to do this course - its on my small bucket list." Clare Ross, on our 'Introduction to Phase 1 Habitat Survey' course in 2016.
"Best ecological training bar none! Your knowledge and experience of a vast range of ecological methods and concepts is unsurpassed and your ability to communicate them in an engaging and informative way is amazing. Ptyxis courses should be a part of every ecologist's professional development!" David Morley, Head of Conservation, H & H Land and Property Ltd, on our 'Understanding NVC' course in 2016.
"The course was well structured and well delivered. I would recommend the course to any professional ecologists undertaking Phase 1 surveys." James Bird BSc(Hons) ACIEEM, Consultant Ecologist on our 'Grasses, sedges & rushes for Phase I habitat survey' course in 2014.
"The course covered all the necessary legal issues for the work I do for my company relating to protected species and sites. Case study activities were very good as they encourage you to assess for yourself and provoke questions about issues you have at work." Sarah Carver, Environmental Manager, FCC Environment plc.
"Really good course to give ideas of uses/incorrect uses of NVC in particular. Good to do it all manually." Genevieve Dalley, on our 'Understanding NVC for surveyors and conservation land managers' course in 2014.
"Very good. The key is very clear with lots on indicators and clues ragarding field variation. John - very patient, willing to answer questions and sympathetic/understanding when difficult to see characteristics, e.g. stem leaves. He has lots of suggestions of ways to help you see them. Also - a good amount of repetition on most common mosses so we could reiterate what we had learnt. And not too many mosses - did not feel he was on a mission to find as many mosses as possible. The emphasis was on teaching, not moss-spotting" Helen Adamson, PhD student & Lecturer, Newcastle University, on our 'Sphagnum identification & ecology' course in 2014.
"Extremely well-delivered course. Content was excellent and appropriate. Overall a very good course indeed and I would recommend this to anybody interested in developing their skills & knowledge in this discipline." William Bartholomew, Lead land management & conservation adviser, Natural England, North Yorkshire, on our 'Introduction to bryophytes' course in 2012.
"Much more confident when faced with a field full of green grass that I will be able to identify most of the species using the information/knowledge & keys supplied on this course. Teacher very patient and wnet over open and closed sheaths repeatedly." Zoe Foster, on our 'Grasses, sedges & rushes for Phase I habitat survey' course in 2014.
"Really well-presented & simplified a lot of complicated things." C Langdon, on our 'Understanding NVC for surveyors and conservation land managers' course in 2014.
"Lots of opportunities to ask questions. I feel confident in understanding Phase 1 surveys and mapping after the course and feel that my approach to the survey will be more consistent in future." Catherine Charles, on our 'Introduction to Phase 1 Habitat Survey' course for Econorth Ltd. in 2016
"One of the best ID courses I have been on. The level of detail was just right and presentation style spot on." Andrew Halcro-Johnston, ecologist, Golder Associates, on the 2010 Aquatic Plants course
"Best course I've been on!" David Rice, ecologist, Defence Estates, on our Phase 1 Habitat Survey course 2009
"Thank you for allowing for the varying abilities of the group. Previous plant ID days have left me overwhelmed. But you gave me lots of support." Faye Durkin, ecologist, CES Ltd, on Botany for Professional Surveyors course 2010
"I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed your course!  I was walking through the fields to my allotment on Sunday morning and the sheer thrill of realising that I could identify (not recognise!) a lot of the grasses, and knew how to go about identifying the others which I didn’t know was, quite honestly, a revelation.  It was the most magical moment!" Charlotte Weightman, RSPB Twite Recovery Project, on Grass Indicators in Flower 2011
"The pre-course pack is excellent, especially if you are completely new to law as a subject." Rosie Jackson, RSPB
"Brilliant 2 days. Lots new learning. Informative, practical, fun, challenging. Excellent learning environment. Great teaching too." Lizzie Maddison, on our 'Introduction to bryophytes' course for the North Pennines AONB Partnership's Wildwatch project in 2014.
"Explained how NVC works in an easy to understand way. Practical exercises highlighted pitfalls & fact that there's no perfect answer sometimes. Really enjoyed constructing floristic tables from own data as made interpreting data much easier than relying on Tablefit. Overall a thorough, well-planned course." Andrew Skinner, on a 'NVC survey' course we devised and ran for RSPB staff and trainees in 2013.


All of our Ptyxis courses are now delivered by distance learning. We no longer run other Ptyxis one- or two-day courses.
Our distance learning courses are ideal for those who learn best through 'active learning'. The course materials focus on the most important features and are presented in a user-friendly way. The courses are built around structured field assignments (or case studies) encouraging you to apply your learning to real-world problems all the way through. We give you detailed feedback on the work you submit at the end of each course unit. This is often when the most useful learning takes place.
The courses are designed to be flexible, so participants vary in how much time they put into the course and the feedback you receive on your work will be individually tailored to you.
Please contact us if you would like more information on any of the courses.

How to Book on a distance learning course

NB By booking on one of our courses you agree to our booking conditions.

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Payment methods:

NB Bookings are confirmed only after payment has been received.

Distance learning courses for 2019:


General plant ID support - £120

This is a general ID support package, rather than a formal course. This may suit early-career ecologists who have some experience with habitat surveys, but could do with ongoing support with their plant ID. Or it may suit more experienced ecologists who want ID support to develop their skills further with more difficult plant groups such as grasses, sedges, ferns or bryophytes. When you join the course we will send you instructions for how to collect, store and send specimens. After that the choice of which species to send is entirely up to you. The maximum number of species you can send is 40. You will get detailed feedback on the key identification features. You can choose your own starting date and the ID support lasts for 6 months from then.

If you don't want to enroll for the full package, but could do with ID help for a small number of species, we provide an ID service (with feedback) for £10 per specimen. Email us for details.



PTYXIS specialises in detailed botanical surveys, data analysis and habitat management advice, offering affordable and reliable ecological services.