Centre for Alternative Technology

Course Search


Extreme Ecology: Become a Nature Detective

  • Sat 26th August 2017.
    Course starts at 10am and ends at 4pm.
    Course fee (not including food or accommodation):-
    Waged £50, Low waged / Concessions £40.

  • Dates, Times & Fees

Course details

Extreme Ecology: Become a Nature Detective.

Fieldwork is a vital part of the Natural Sciences and in some cases there is a powerful overlap between the various scientific disciplines. In this course, we see three such disciplines – biology, chemistry and geology – coming together in an unusual and highly distinctive example of natural responses to completely natural metal-pollution.

A morning primer on the geological evolution of Wales is followed by an afternoon walk in the beautiful Coed y Brenin Forest, where participants become Nature-Detectives and even, briefly, prospectors. This is a straightforward but fascinating example of how fieldwork, applying multiple aspects of science and natural history, leads to discoveries and a greater understanding of the world around us.

Start 10:00 (coffee etc.)

Morning 10:30 – 12:00: Primer talk and Q&A on the geological evolution of Wales. Learn about the vastness of geological time and ways of interpreting it in context, where Wales was when it first came into being on Earth's surface (clue: not where it is now!) and the geological processes that produced some of Wales' most historical commodities: Welsh slate, gold and coal.

12:00 – 12:30: Lunch at CAT then meet at Tyn-y-Groes Forestry car-park, 13:15 – 13:30 (map supplied). Travel in convoy to Capel Hermon (about 10 minutes).

13:30 – 16:00: A leisurely walk of around 4km, entirely on well-made forestry tracks. We stop at a key and historic locality to examine an internationally-important and highly photogenic metal-tolerant flora. We then continue along the trail, looking at the ancient, 500 million year old rocks of the Mawddach Valley (including some spectacular river-gorge scenery), then we put on a prospector's hat and trace the metals responsible for the flora back to source.

Participant requirements: Course participants are expected to travel to the locations from CAT either using their own vehicles or car-sharing with other course participants. We also suggest that you bring a packed lunch or snacks with you or purchase from our restaurant before leaving CAT.

Your tutor for this course is John Mason

Things you need to know

Due to the nature of this course some practical work will be done outside. We strongly advise you to bring waterproof clothing and good walking boots.

You must be over the age of 18 years when this course starts.

Booking, Fees and Cancellation policy

To book a place on a course, please choose one of the following options:

• Book Online- the “Book online” button is either below, or in the top right corner of the screen and follow the instructions.

• Call the Courses Department on 01654 704 966 with your bank card details.


Our course fees include tuition and materials, unless otherwise stated.

Please also note our Cancellation & Refund Policy
a) 1 day course fees are non-refundable.
b) CAT reserves the right to cancel any courses. Deposits and fees will be returned in full should this happen.

Course Fees.

Start Date

Book Now!

Email courses@cat.org.uk
or phone 01654 704 966

There are places available on this course.

Subscribe to our newsletter


Click here to sign up