Demystifying our Landscape

Botany Field School near Abbeycwmhir, Radnorshire

14/15th August (11am-4pm) – Fiona Gomersall – How plants help us understand the past

Common bird's-foot-trefoil to send
Common Knapweed to send

Fiona is currently Natural Heritage Officer for Elan Links. She worked for Shropshire Wildlife Trust as their Conservation Officer for 15 years and more recently as a Farm Advisor for Severn Rivers Trust. She has a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in Environmental Science.

This Botany Field School’s aim is to introduce the participants to the typical botany of our semi-natural habitats of mid-Wales.  With this background, Fiona will particularly show us the botany of ancient pastures and meadows with an emphasis upon ruderal plants (plants associated with human dwellings,  agriculture or waste ground) so that we can discern the influence of human activities over the centuries.
Day 1 will be based at Gilfach, Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve near Rhayader.  For centuries Gilfach was a working farm, now a reserve with the potential to provide an exemplar demonstration of plant species of interest to understanding human activities on the lands of mid-Wales previously owned by Abbey Cwmhir. 
Day 2 will be at Cwmffwrn Farm near St. Harmon.  Cwmffwrn Farm was part of Abbey Cwmhir’s Home Grange. It holds the remains of a number of ancient buildings and platforms that may have medieval origins.  It was the location of Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust’s Archaeological Field School in September 2020, and also the location of an excavation of one of the farmsteads to be held in July 2021.  We will be examining the botany of this upland farm, the sites of the ancient farmsteads, the possible site of a drover’s smithy, and ‘hafod’ sites probably occupied seasonally.
This Botany Field School will provide an excellent foundation for people interested to understand more about the botany of mid-Wales.
It is our hope that, as a result of the training, you will be able to interpret our landscape more fully in terms of its botany and that you will be inspired to stay in touch with us/join our group of community heritage volunteers – and feedback to us any observations that you make that relate to our heritage when visiting our Abbey and the granges (lands) that it owned. 
It is our intention to collate these new findings and host discussions on-line, through our website and Zoom discussions, so that we can learn more about the fascinating history of our countryside.

If you would like to know more, before signing up for this event, please email

Places on this Field School will be limited.  

Both Gilfach and Cwmffwrn are hilly sites and this Field School will involve walking on steep and uneven ground. 

If you would like to book a place, please follow the link below.

Attendees will receive an information pack prior to the event.
Please note that young people (under-18s) and vulnerable adults  will need to be accompanied.

A minimum donation of £1 is required when making the booking