Jonathan Briggs Associates:

More information and links

This page provides more information on some of our main activities. Scroll down or use the menu to read about Mistletoe, Canal Ecology, Other Plants and Insects, Media and Archaeology.


Mistletoe is a parasitic plant with a long tradition in medicine, folklore and superstition. This is a detail from its entry in Hieronymous Bock's Herbal, published in the 1560s

Our Mistletoe Matters Consultancy provides information and advice on all aspects of mistletoe, Viscum album, in the UK. We also run the English Mistletoe Shop, selling mistletoe grow-kits and other products.

We provide guidance and help on mistletoe planting and growing as well as on harvest and control. We also run talks, walks and workshops covering mistletoe biology, folklore, history and management and we co-ordinate surveys of particular mistletoe issues. The changing status of mistletoe's associated insects and birds are a particular interest. The need for better understanding of mistletoe is addressed through information sheets, media initiatives and media briefings - and talks:

"...thank you again for your excellent talk. Several people said that yours was the best we’ve had this year..."

For more information (and many more commendations!) on mistletoe talks, walks and workshops click here to go direct to the Talks section of the Mistletoe Matters site.

For full information on Mistletoe Matters click here.

Canal Ecology

Caen Hill Locks, Kennet & Avon Canal - a view across the side ponds to the main channel, hinting at the extra biodiversity that thrives in quieter backwaters

We have a combined experience of over 40 man-years of environmental issues on canals, having both worked for British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust in England and Wales and Scottish Canals in Scotland) from the 1980s to 2006. Much of this work was pioneering in nature, gradually establishing an ecological conscience within the engineering- and navigation-led world of Britain's historic inland navigations.

We worked at all levels of the organisation, combining advisory and practical work with preparation and publication of new policy, best practice, and innovative design solutions within engineering works. Working and negotiating with outside agencies was an important aspect, particularly for protected sites and species. We were also involved in promoting new ideas, within and without the organisation, via innumerable exhibitions, roadshows, education campaigns and media promotions.

Particular ongoing interests include canal restoration schemes and the ecological challenges they present - for both the aquatic and the adjoining terrestrial habitats. The interdependence of the built and natural heritage of the historic waterway network is also a particular interest.

For some written material on canal ecological issues, including some of our own articles and papers on canals, click here to visit our canal resources page.

Other plants (& insects)

An unidentified parasitic wasp, intriguingly not the usual Ascogaster dispar, prospecting for its prey, the eggs or larvae of teasel moth Endothenia gentianaeana, on an immature teasel flower-head

Much of our project work is botanical, ranging from our well-known work with mistletoe and other parasitic plants, through to specific rarities and species of conservation concern. Past examples include Adders Tongue Spearwort, Ranunculus ophioglossifolius and Floating Water Plantain, Luronium natans.

Plants used in industrial processes, past and present, are another speciality. Current examples include teasels, both Dipsacus fullonum, the wild species and D sativus, the species used in the cloth industry. Both have a long history of use, and there is often confusion between the two. Both also have fascinating insect associations.

Parasitic plants are another ongoing interest linked, obviously, to our mistletoe work, but taking in the other parasitic plants of the UK, including the Dodders, Cuscuta, the Broomrapes, Orobanche, and the Toothworts (native and introduced), Lathraea.

A new ecological website dedicated to some of these species and projects is planned for 2015 - there will more information about that soon. For papers and articles relating to these species and projects visit our articles page.


A selection of our media work, including print, broadcast and online news stories, magazine and feature programmes, websites for clients, and some publishing ventures

We are often involved media of all types, relating to our own and third party projects. This includes traditional newsprint, radio and television broadcasts, promotional literature of all types plus the full range of new media - websites, blogs, podcasts and social networking.

Jonathan Briggs has extensive Press Office and Marketing Department experience gained during secondments within British Waterways (literature, exhibitions, media releases, video news releases, on-site press management etc) and from involvement in national media campaigns by NGOs including Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity, the Association for Industrial Archaeology and the National Trust. On a more local scale he co-ordinated and promoted media for the Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Festival for several years.

We are also increasingly involved in website production, for ourselves and for clients, and have recently ventured into book production, using print-on-demand methodologies as well as e-book production. Most of this publishing work, books, leaflets and websites is being developed under the Potamogeton Press name.

More information will be available soon on our Media Log page (under construction at present).


Our sort of archaeology - industrial, mysterious and involving a long water channel. This is one of the pairs of mills at Powder Mills, Dartmoor, where explosives were manufactured. The gap between the buildings held a waterwheel powering the crushers, one in each building

We are not conventional archaeologists - indeed our qualifications, in Industrial Archaeology and Landscape Archaeology, mean we offer an unusual and unconventional insight into archaeological and historic sites.

Particular interests include historic water-power sites - in terms of landscape and water engineering as well as their evolution, often through many differing industries, on particular sites through time.

Other interests include historic uses of plants in industry, an area much bigger than just milling foodstuffs. Plants, and processing of particular plants, were the mainstay of industry before man-made fibres, plastics and chemicals became predominant. Our work has included projects on plants in tanning, ink-making and the use of plants for particular industrial processes (e.g teasels in cloth manufacture).

We are often involved in voluntary archaeological work, previously at a national level with the AIA and currently with various local archaeological groups.