Excellent, knowledgeable tutors who covered the topics clearly and answered questions/led discussions in a very productive manner (Recreation & HRAs) ...
It did exactly what it set out to do. I feel much more informed about Commons generally and about the process involved in S38 applications (Commons Management) ...
A dry and complicated subject i.e. HRA regulations was interspersed with practical examples and research which helped to illustrate the HRA requirements (Recreation & HRAs) ...
Good location, food, facilities, trainers & audience (Commons Management) ...
The best training I have had this year (if not longer) (Commons Management)...


Footprint Ecology runs a small number of scheduled and bespoke courses each year covering areas in which we have specialist expertise. These courses are open to all and may be held at our Wareham office or in venues in other parts of the country. Group sizes are kept small to enhance the learning experience and prices are kept as low as possible. Courses are run by Footprint staff but we often bring in outside experts or run combined courses with others; for example, some of our commons courses are run jointly with the Open Spaces Society.

Scheduled courses

Scheduled courses

Each year we run a programme of courses open to all and reflecting areas of current interest; topics and booking details are provided here.

Bespoke Courses

Bespoke Courses

Clients often request in-house training on specific topics. Bespoke courses can be tailored to particular groups of participants and held at a venue of choice.

Scheduled courses

Scheduled courses

We regularly hold training courses in Habitats Regulation Assessments (HRA), Bird disturbance, Commons management, GIS, and Counting visitors. All course fees include training materials and refreshments. Most courses are located in Dorset. Trainees on our courses have included county ecologists, ecology consultants, rangers and wardens as well as employees of Natural England, Forestry Commission and charities such as wildlife trusts. If you are interested in one of our courses, or would like to be on a mailing list for course updates, please contact us.

Courses for 2017

Bird Disturbance

Bird Disturbance

Thursday 9th November 2017| 1 day | £130 (£156 inc VAT) - includes lunch.

Led by Durwyn Liley. Suitable for those involved in site and access management of wildlife sites, especially European protected sites (SPAs).. Location: Wareham, Dorset.


This one-day course will examine the nature conservation issues relating to recreational disturbance of birds.

The course will address:

• How disturbance impacts birds
• The relative impact of various activities
• Species that are vulnerable to disturbance
• Ways to manage or minimise disturbance

The course draws widely from published research and on-going work by Footprint Ecology. Course participants will each receive a CD with reference material and reference lists. A range of handouts will also be provided.

Durwyn is a director at Footprint Ecology with a particular interest in bird disturbance. The course will draw on our work across a range of sites (including the Humber Estuary, Nene Valley, the Wash, the Thames Estuary, North Kent, the Solent, the Exe and the North Nor-folk Coast), drawing together bird ecology studies, visitor surveys, modelling and planning advice.

Commons Management for Land Managers

Commons Management for Land Managers

Thursday 9th November 2017| 1 day | £135 (£162 including VAT) includes lunch.

Led by John Underhill-Day & Kate Ashbrook (Open Spaces Society). This course is designed to help land managers and others with an interest in commons understand their rights and responsibilities, and prepare and implement management plans on common land. . Location: Wareham.

Covers the history & origins of commons, commons legislation, and the use of commons consents and consultation exercises. It will also look at the process of obtaining consent for fencing and other works on commons, with a practical exercise.

Kate Ashbrook has been the general secretary of The Open Spaces Society for 32 years and has an encylopaedic knowledge of commons and countryside access.

Dr John Underhill-Day has undertaken work on over 40 commons including public consultations, management plans, submission of applications for works and giving evidence at commons inquiries.

Recreation and Habitat Regulations Assessments (HRA)

Recreation and Habitat Regulations Assessments (HRA)

Thursday 23rd November 2017| 2 days | £220 exc VAT both days / £110 exc VAT single day.

Led by Rachel Hoskin (Senior Ecologist) & Durwyn Liley (Director). Suitable for those likely to undertake or assess HRAs in areas with high recreation pressure.. Location: Chesterfield.

Recreation can have ecological impacts such as disturbance to birds, fire risk and trampling. Large volumes of new housing can bring consequences which can be difficult to cover in HRAs. In this two day course we consider the range and scale of impacts, the step-by-step process of undertaking HRAs and how to include recreation, detailed reviews of mitigation options and will give a range of examples and case-studies.

Day One

The step by step process of Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) with particular focus on the impacts of recreation on European protected wildlife sites. Can be attended as a stand alone day by those needing a basic understanding of the HRA process in relation to recreation.

Day Two

Covers options for mitigation and how to incorporate them into the HRA. We will work through examples of the assessment process. Can be attended as a standalone for those already familiar with the HRA process, but needing more insight into the impacts and mitigation of recreation.

Footprint Ecology has undertaken a wide range of HRAs and supporting visitor & mitigation work on a variety of local spatial planning documents including Breckland, the Thames Basin Heaths, Dorset Heaths and many coastal sites.

Rachel is a Habitats Regulations specialist and Durwyn is an ecologist with particular interest and expertise in the impacts of recreation.

Courses for 2016

Courses we ran in 2016 included:

About our courses

All courses include food (locally sourced and where possible organic) and refreshments. Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for - please let us know if you have any special requirements. All scheduled courses are at our Dorset office in Wareham Forest unless otherwise stated.

How to book places on a course

To reserve a place on a course contact the Practice Manager on 01929 552444 or e-mail training@footprint-ecology.co.uk. Your place will be confirmed on receipt of the completed booking form.

How to pay for a course

For organisations and companies we can raise an invoice to be paid within 30 days by BACS or cheque. Please ensure you supply a purchase order number if that is required by your accounts department.
Alternatively, we can take card payments here via our website using Paypal. A VAT receipt will be supplied.


Footprint Ecology reserve the right to cancel courses due to unforeseen circumstances. Where courses are cancelled by Footprint any fees paid will be credited in full. If you find you have to cancel, we will do our best to fill your place on the course, however if the cancellation is less than 14 days before the course and we cannot fill your space, we cannot refund your fee.

Bespoke Courses

Bespoke courses

In addition to scheduled courses we also run bespoke courses which can be designed and run for particular groups or issues. This has cost savings and allows clients to have a course exactly tailored to their requirements and held at their premises if preferred. The courses we offer reflect our areas of expertise, but we have an extensive network of associates who we can bring in to complement our expertise to produce a tailor-made course. Some examples of in-house training we have supplied are:

  • Coastal bird disturbance
    for Natural England at various locations
  • GIS mapping
    for Butterfly Conservation and Dorset Wildlife Trust
  • Commons management training
    for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
  • Statistical analysis techniques for invertebrate communities
    for Natural England
  • Controlled burning to manage heathland
    for Outsourced Client Solutions - MoD estates

Trainees on our courses have included county ecologists, ecology consultants, rangers and wardens as well as employees of Natural England, Forestry Commission and charities such as wildlife trusts. If you are interested in one of our courses, or would like to be on a mailing list for course updates, please contact us.


Contact us to discuss your project

We’re always ready to talk about your requirements, so please do get in touch today

Tel: +44 (0)1929 552444