Course: Newt Ecology

Fri, 27/04/2018 - 9:30am - 4:00pm

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Event details

Fri, 27/04/2018 - 9:30am - 4:00pm

David Dewsbury and Alan Sumnall provide an in-depth introduction to the ecology, surveying and conservation of Britain's three native newt species with a visit to ponds at Tidenham Chase. Practice using Dewsbury box traps and gain experience to extend your GCN license.*

The course covers the identification, distribution and status of great crested, smooth and palmate newts, relevant legislation, habitat requirements, and threats to species survival.

This is a unique opportunity to find out how and why the new box trap design was developed, discuss how it compares to more widely-used trapping methods and to spend the afternoon gaining practical Dewsbury box trap survey experience in the field.

*Please note: You don't need to hold a licence to attend this course. The course focusses on Dewsbury Box traps, which require a separate Personal License in addition to a main GCN license, which is outside the scope of this course. To gain a Personal License you need to already hold a main GCN licence or apply jointly for both.

Feedback from last year's newt ecology course attendees: “Your Newt Ecology course gave me the extra experience I needed to get my first job in ecology.” Alex, Bristol 2017

• Location: Tidenham Chase Village Hall and the Park nature reserve, Forest of Dean
• Tutors: David Dewsbury and Alan Sumnall
• Date : Friday 27th April 2018
• Times: 09:30 – 16.00
• Level: Professionals and Enthusiasts
• Refreshments included
• In association with ARGUK
• Price: £125

Please note: If attendees are not all over 18, please contact Ellen Winter on prior to booking tickets.  

Course expectations
At the end of the course participants can expect to feel confident in newt ID, recording, ecology, conservation status, welfare issues and use of the Dewsbury box trap.

Over the day the course will cover:
• Native newt identification and ecology
• UK legal status, conservation and threats to species survival
• Amphibian welfare, health & safety and biosecurity measures
• Survey protocols: timing, techniques and limitations
• Practical habitat assessment
• Dewsbury Box trap design and deployment, including practical experience.

About the Tutors
David and Sue Dewsbury are well known newt enthusiasts, seen on BBC Springwatch and David has been the Gloucestershire Amphibian and Reptile Recorder since 2011. Dissatisfied with the widely-used bottle traps, both their low catch rate and dubious welfare record, David created a new trap which has proved to be both more effective, and safer for newts and humans. He has since carried out newt surveys for several Wildlife Trusts and other major conservation organisations, and trained many other ecologists to use his new design.

Fascinated by amphibians from a young age, Alan Sumnall's desire to conserve them led to him gaining a Great Crested Newt License over 10 years ago. During this time he has used his license to survey for long-term population studies, manage and consult on sensitive sites, and find himself with his arm down drains during evening Toad Patrols. He has even been filmed in a river with Ellie Harrison on Countryfile.

09.15 : Registration and refreshments at Tidenham Chase
09.30 : Welcome and introductions
09.45 : Indoor presentation and Dewsbury box trap introduction.
12.30 : Lunch (note: bring packed lunch. Hot drinks provided)
13.15 : Practical field visit at GWT’s The Park nature reserve
15.30 : Discussion and review of the day
16.00 : Course ends
All timings are approximate. This is an outline programme and may change according to the weather, requirements of the group or wildlife factors.

What we provide
• Light refreshments
• All equipment needed
• Course pack
• Relevant guide books
• Certificate of Attendance
• Personal Reference in support of NE additional license on successful completion

What to Bring
• Weather appropriate outdoor clothing (we advise clothing to cover arms, legs and feet).
• Appropriate outdoor footwear with good grip.
• A packed lunch and water.

• Notebook and pencil
• Camera
• Your own guide book if you have one

Useful Guides
Roberts, Froglife & Ovenden (1999) FSC Fold-out Chart – Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Ireland

Meeting point/Location
Tidenham Chase Old School Village Hall, Rosemary Lane, Tidenham Chase, Forest of Dean NP16 7LX

Parking and Transport
There is free but limited parking at the village hall and the field site, so please park considerately. There is a short drive required between sites, so car sharing will be arranged on the day.

Accessibility and Health
If you have relevant medical or access requirements please let us know when booking.
Tidenham Chase Village Hall has disabled access, parking and toilet. Field visit approximately 3 hours on uneven, muddy and steep terrain, with kissing gates and stiles.

Please contact course organiser Ellen Winter for more details - we are happy to work with you to facilitate attendance wherever possible.

About the Field Site

To read our Events Cancellation Policy, please click here.


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Venue location

Tidenham Chase,
Forest of Dean,
NP16 7LX

Event information

Book by phone
Tel: 01452 383333
Book by email
Friday 27th April 2018
9:30am - 4:00pm
Price / Donation
£125 per person
Suitable for 18+ years
Learning / Education
Outdoor activity
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Venue location
Tidenham Chase,
Forest of Dean,
NP16 7LX
Get directions
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Public transport
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Wheelchair Access
Wheelchair users please contact organiser in advance
People with limited mobility please contact organiser in advance
no dogs please
Contact details
Tel: 01452 383333
Ellen Winter