What Learners Say

What we liked most about the course ...

Writing Nature Memoir at The Gateway

4/4/2024 – 23/5/2024

A small blue and pink Holly blue butterfly resting on newly formed ivy berries.

How many nature memoirs have been written and how diverse they are. Down to earth and very interesting. Learning about different nature writers and different approaches to nature writing. How nature writing can be a lens to bring in other views. The teaching instructed us on ways to improve our writing.

Creative Writing in Nature at Walford

9/2/2024 – 22/3/2024

The course made me look outside at nature. I saw plants growing and took notice instead of walking by. The way it inspired me to explore new avenues. The friendly atmosphere of the group. It has been really good to spend time outdoors seeing the gardens awakening from winter. A chance to stop, think and reflect on the nature around us. Developing my ideas, vocabulary linked to nature and botany. Discussing and comparing with others. I have enjoyed the content of this course and it has inspired me to build on my skills in nature writing. Great environment and a thought-provoking course.

Writing Nature Memoir at The Gateway

22/02/2024 - 21/03/2024

It was relaxed and interesting – straight forward and easy to understand. The knowledge and enthusiasm of the tutor – this she utilised to stimulate all the students within the class irrespective of a wide range of ages and experiences. The opportunity to read a number of nature writers of different eras. The incredible range of available texts and authors from 1700s upwards. A pleasure to be encouraged to write and to examine writing of different sorts. The tutor paid great attention to what people said and encouraged everyone to feel confident.

Urban Nature at The Library

1/2/2024 – 21/03/2024

Welcoming and engaging sessions. A variety of resources to encourage our interest. Having the time to talk and learn. Having a go at writing almost straight off. Hearing other people's words and being inspired by them. Learning about word banks and different purposes of writing. Trying out turning prose into a poem. Last week the idea of a poem seemed scary, but this week not so much. Having the time to share ideas, examine the seeds and stems and have a go - there's a whole world/network of people writing and sharing about the natural world!

Creative Writing in Nature at Walford

12/1/2024 - 9/2/2024

Lovely warm room to gather in and beautiful grounds. The amount of 'ground' covered in two hours, delivered in an easy and relaxed way. Learnt a lot already. Learning and understanding the differences between prose and poetry. Writing creatively about something, an item from nature, that allowed me to express myself. Learning and realising that I could write prose about nature and that it flowed naturally. I enjoyed the botanical elements today and use of similes. I enjoyed challenging my imagination. Botany – using different styles. Reflection – why and how this is important. Creative, friendly environment of the people in the group. Good discussions of course content extended into knowledge. Learning botanical terms and meanings. Very interesting, knowledgeable tutor and keen participants. Great atmosphere. Highlight of my week!

Structural Editing – Paragraph, Sentence, Word - online

11/1/2024 - 2/2/2024

It was well structured – I didn’t feel overloaded with information or rushed. Set out clearly from the start to show how it was going to flow. Friendly, supportive atmosphere. I enjoyed how each task built on the last. Started with basics and got us doing a simple task from the beginning to build up in layers. The use of verbs to help create a personality - I hadn’t considered this before. Little nuggets of wisdom provided along the way about the writing process and how to craft a great piece. The workshops are so carefully structured and timed so precisely, that every minute counts. The informality and the spontaneity. Delving into why we write was really lovely – it made me think in turn about what and how I write. I very much enjoyed the reflection and discussion. It was useful to think about why I write and for whom.

Writing Nature Memoir – FSC online

31/10/2023 – 12/12/2023

The course was well thought out, structure and delivery was excellent. I thought the exercises at the forums were thought provoking and useful. Knowledgeable tutor, good course materials, creation of sociable and supportive learning environment. Learning about how varied nature writing can be and how much scope there is to explore different styles and different techniques. Reading other people’s work and being encouraged to review, along with the webinar, really made us a community. The comments I had were so encouraging to continue my writing journey. Learning about different types of memoir and how to give constructive feedback. The guidance on giving feedback was helpful and having to reflect is another useful developmental exercise. This has been a really good course with great exercises to get your teeth into.

Structural Editing – Paragraph, Sentence, Word - Online

6/9/2023 - 12/10/2023

A clear introduction – for me editing had a been a thing I did rather randomly. I hadn’t considered paragraphs, sentences and words separately when reviewing my work and found the approach really helpful. It opened up a whole new world of understanding for me, in how the initial first draft of writing can be enhanced for the readers' enjoyment and direction - like editing a photograph, you, the artist of the written piece, can influence how the piece of writing is seen and experienced by the reader. The first prompt was short and invited the writer to engage.  This was a great a way to start what became an extended piece of writing. I found it particularly useful to learn different ways of introducing variety into our sentences. Sharing in a small group, reasons why, how and what we write and listening to feedback on what others pick up on in your work as a writer.  It felt like we were really getting to the essence of why we do this and how that will ultimately impact our writing.  It felt very supportive and reminded me how important it is to have a support network behind you as a writer (and artist).

Urban Nature at The Hive

14/9/2023 - 7/12/2023

I liked that I wasn’t rushed, it felt slow and relaxing. It was great to learn and look at the fruits in a different more in-depth way. The educational aspect of the workshop, learning about new plants and seeds, and writing using similes. I enjoyed listening to other people’s writing. The subject matter, the variety of plants brought in, the explanation of how plants function, the group size, the feedback. Connecting words and thoughts to the biology of the plants. The sharing of ideas and styles. The confidence it gave to just write. No judgement. To take time to consider extensive vocabulary - not just descriptive but factual. That any writing is okay and the more the description the better. A new perspective on flowers in December. The encouragement, the discussion of ideas, to expand thoughts, descriptions, use metaphors.

Nature Memory Poetry in Care Homes

23/6/2023 - 25/10/2023

All of it. Very friendly and enjoyable. A different way of thinking. It took my mind off things. Brought back memories. Reading our own poems. Listening to other people's stories and poems. The feelings in the poems. Nature is powerful and showing us. Smelling and feeling the herbs. Hearing people's stories. Being with other people. Talking about using herbs in cooking. I think reminiscing and making the poem. Bringing back memories, wonderful memories, of looking at the mountains and valleys. Remembering being children. Being together, sharing memories, hearing stories and poems. Being with friends.

Urban Nature at The Hive

20/4/2023 - 13/7/2023

It was a journey, it didn’t feel ’bitty’ and the levels all flowed beautifully so that I transitioned from one skill/level to the next seamlessly. Well-paced. It engaged everybody at different levels. Encouraged us to do close observation, learning new botany. Being helped to get started and write the first line, which can be a block. The journey in crafting a piece of writing – watching how a piece can develop. When we gave each other feedback, it really helped. Meeting others and realising how important nature is. Learning how to craft a piece of work. I have learned a lot about flowers, plants and trees I never knew before. Really developed my enthusiasm and confidence. Encouraging yet challenging. A safe space to find your ‘voice’. Sharing ideas with other people and giving and receiving feedback. Everything!

Urban Nature at The Hive

2/3/2023 - 23/3/2023

Small group. Interesting. Lots to learn. Perfect length. Crafting. I loved the whole workshop! Learning more about plant anatomy. That it was a small group and the venue. Describing leaves. Feeling the leaves. Juxtaposition. Learning how to pinpoint what to carry on with in my writing. Getting more comfortable sharing my writing. I liked listening to other people’s work and giving each other feedback. Explaining similes. The opportunity to write anything ever - I haven’t since leaving school.