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The Barn Owl Trust

Conserving the Barn Owl and its Environment

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Our Work

Training for ecologists & planners


Barn Owl Training Courses


Barn Owl Ecology, Surveys & Signs

These unique events are primarily designed for ecological consultants and planning officers who need to consider Barn Owls when carrying out surveys and considering planning applications. The Trust began running 'Barn Owl Ecology Surveys and Signs' (BOESS) training days in September 2005.

Our next BOESS training days will be running on Tuesday the 25th and Wednesday the 26th of November 2014. Booking will open shortly.

For further information please take a look at the poster to the right. It gives details on the course price, content and outcomes. Please be aware that places are limited, and we are likely to become fully booked.



Advanced Barn Owl Surveying and Mitigation

The Advanced Barn Owl Surveying and Mitigation (ABOSM) course is specifically designed for those who have previously attended our Barn Owl Ecology, Surveys and Signs foundation course. Please contact the Trust's office to register your interest and for further details.


Our Advanced course is run every July, however due to demand we are also hoping to run one in November 2014. To see what will be covered, do take a look at the poster to the right. The number of courses we run is related to the number of enquires we get so do let us know if you are interested.


What the day involves...

Held on a farm in South Devon the BOESS course covers Barn Owl ecology, the birds' behaviour/annual cycle, sites and habitats, decline and conservation. It looks at the law - protection and legislation, Wildlife and Countryside and CROW Acts and nest inspection licences. There is a comprehensive section on "reading the signs" - identifying and interpreting what you might find during a site visit and the course also considers survey and search techniques, surveys, equipment, search procedure, and data confidentiality. After a fabulous home-made lunch there is a site visit by mini bus to another farm where participants have the opportunity to try out survey techniques and reading the signs for themselves.


Instruction is aimed at enabling people to carry out Barn Owl site surveys safely and efficiently whilst minimising disturbance and produce good survey reports with recommendations that lead to successful mitigation and enhancement. Each candidate receives a reference for their Schedule One Licence Application as well as a Certificate of Attendance.


The day also includes mitigation strategies, mitigation methods, and recommendations - when and where to use them - and fictional case study exercises. It is a packed day with plenty of opportunities for questions and discussion. The course has proved immensely popular with participants from as far afield as Scotland, Northern Ireland and East Anglia coming to undertake the training in Devon.

How to book.

Details of the next course dates and the cost can be found on the posters, the links are at the side of this page. Dates are also posted in the Events Diary.



"I have had extremely positive feedback from the ecologists who have attended the course. They thoroughly enjoyed the course and found it very informative. The lunch arrangements were also very popular! Just thought I would let you know that we do appreciate you running these courses and will continue to send our new staff on courses you run in the future" - Rebecca C

"Thank you for organising such a great day. I went home thoroughly inspired. The skills we learnt will definitely be useful for my work" - Kate Walls


How it all started...

The Barn Owl Trust is uniquely placed to deliver this type of training having carried out detailed site surveys, practical fieldwork, and research within this subject area for over 25 years. In 1990 the Trust began a 5-year project looking at the effects of barn conversions on Barn Owls. The results were published in a Barn Owl Trust report and a scientific paper which appeared in Bird Study. These were followed by the booklet 'Barn Owls on site - A guide for developers and planners' first published by English Nature in 1995 with a second edition in 2002. The report and booklet contained a range of recommendations for changes in Local Authority planning policies. These included a requirement that planning applications for the development of redundant rural buildings should not be considered unless accompanied by the results of a Barn Owl survey. The most radical recommendation was that provison for Barn Owls should be incorporated (as a condition of planning consent) into all rural barn conversions, even where no current evidence of Barn Owls was found. Over the intervening years an increasing number of Local Authorities throughout the UK have adopted some or all of the Trust's recommendations.

Barn Owls on Site was superceded in 2009 by "Barn Owls and Rural Planning Applications - a Guide", a BOT document, part-funded and supported by Natural England, aimed at applicants, ecologists and planners involved in rural developments where Barn Owls are or might be an issue. We are currently (2014) producing a new and completely re-worked version of the Guide to include planning policy changes such as NPPF (2012) and recent changes to Permitted Development Rights (2014).

The Barn Owl Trust is dedicated to conservation & education and does not operate a visitor centre.
Barn Owl Trust staff and volunteers
Waterleat, Ashburton, Devon TQ13 7HU
+44 (0) 1364 653026