Snail Course at Chalkills - 2nd November

Dark-lipped Snail (Cepaea nemoralis) ©Brian Walker

Saturday 2nd November - 10am to 4pm

at Chalkhills, Whitchurch-on-Thames, RG8 7QS

organised by Sandra Parkinson

Course Tutor: Steve Gregory, Freelance ecologist and author of the Oxfordshire Terrestrial Mollusca distribution Atlas (Gregory & Campbell, 2000)

Snails (and slugs, but the course will not cover the latter) don’t tend to get recorded by wildlife surveyors. As a botanist, I am guilty of only jotting down birds and butterflies seen on a plant survey but not much else, which is regrettable as snails, at the appropriate time of year, and under the right weather conditions, are fairly easy to see (or uncover) while recording other wildlife groups.

The aim of the course is to enable surveyors of plant and other animal groups to be able to identify at least a few of the commoner snails, and especially those which are indicators of undisturbed valuable habitats and of disturbed habitats. If more records are collected for snails they may turn out to be valuable  indicators of changes to habitat, climate, pollution or pesticide use, and to the species which eat them.

There will be a short indoor session followed by outdoor collecting of specimens on LWS chalk downland (Ref 67N01, The Basin and Bozedown Park), and also an area of woodland (some of it ancient) if there is time. The specimens will be taken back to the meeting room for identification if this is not possible in the field, and for a round-up discussion.

There is no wetland, or ponds or streams at Chalkhills, so the snails that occur in or near these habitats will not be covered in any detail.

Cost £15 per person (under 18's and full time students £10)

Bring your own lunch, and a hot drink if the weather means we can ‘picnic’ outdoors (there is a barn we can use to shelter in). Coffee and tea will be provided on arrival, at lunch if we decide to return to the meeting room (if the weather is bad), and also at the end of the day (with cake ! ) Please bring a hand lens,  though some will be available to borrow if you forget yours.

Email your booking of a place to

Payment on the day is acceptable. Cash, or cheques made out to Sandra Parkinson.

Receipts will be issued. In the event of insufficient participants, the course may be cancelled, and any fee paid in advance will be returned (so please supply a postal address with any advance payment).

Poster (pdf)

Recommended book:

Land Snails in the British Isles: Cameron and Riley, updated 2008, AIDGAP book;

Publication 79 by Field Studies Council, ISBN 978 1 851153 890 4 (£9.00 from FSC) or:

Laminated GUIDE TO LAND SNAILS of BI published by the Natural History Museum

(£2.00), also available from Pemberley Books (£1.95)


Posted: July 12, 2019