Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Showing 34 upcoming events




Myriapods & Isopods of Northumberland

25th Apr 2014
Friday 25 April, 9am-5pm.
Saturday 26 April, 9am-5pm.

The British Myriapod and Isopod Group (millipedes, centipedes and woodlice) have kindly invited us to join them on their field visits when they visit the Hadrian’s Wall area in April. They will be carrying out field surveys of various sites which will include experienced as well as new members.

Meet at Saughy Rigg Farm guesthouse, which is off the minor road north of the B6318 at Once Brewed, grid ref NY739684, postcode NE49 9PT). Take a packed lunch. For more information contact Paul



Black Grouse Lek & Upland Birds

26th Apr 2014
5am onwards

Location: Upper Teasdale

Thanks to the work of the North Pennines Black Grouse Recovery Programme our region is one of the best places in England to see these charismatic moorland birds. We will be visiting the site of a Lek (where large numbers of males try to attract females) which takes place in early morning. After watching this wonderful natural spectacle we will go on a short safari-style drive to look for other upland wildlife and then return to the Langdon Beck Hotel for a cooked breakfast, where we will also have a short film and talk about Black Grouse by Chris McCarty from Natural England.

For those who would like to, after breakfast we will go on a 3 mile walk looking for breeding waders, Ring Ouzel and other upland birds and plants

The cost for this event is £16, which includes a £5 donation towards the Black Grouse Programme and a cooked breakfast at the Langdon Beck Hotel (veggie option available). An £11 deposit must be paid in advance.

Please contact the Society Office to book by 28th March.

If you would like to stay overnight: Langdon Beck Hotel tel 01833 622267 (ask for Sue & book as B&B and explain you are on the Black Grouse Watch on the 26th so you don't get charged twice for breakfast) or Youth Hostel (1km away) tel. 01833 622228 (book bed only, don't order breakfast, have it at Hotel with the rest of the group).

Please do not book any accommodation until you have paid your £11 deposit.



Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

8th May 2014
Thursday 8 May, 8.15pm-10.15pm.

Hazel Makepeace

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be a short talk on bat biology and ecology, and as the sun is setting we will walk through the reserve looking for and listening to the bats we find.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.
woodland May DNR



Introduction to woodland flowers, Plessey Woods, nr Morpeth

10th May 2014
Saturday 10 May, 10am -1pm.

Janet Angel & Angus Lunn.

Spring is a wonderful time to see woodland flowers. If you appreciate their beauty, but have little or no idea how to identify them, this half-day outing is for you.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.
Bird Migration



Spring Migration at Druridge Bay, Northumberland

11th May 2014
Sunday 11 May, 2pm-5pm.

James Littlewood.

Spring bird migration will be at its peak and we will search the wetlands, fields and coastline of Druridge Bay in pursuit of waders, passerines, sea birds and anything else that is on the wing. Will involve walking and watching from hides.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.
House Wren Singing



Bird song in Thornley Woods, Rowlands Gill

22nd May 2014
Thursday 22 May, 7.30am-9.30am.

David Noble-Rollin.

An early morning visit to Thornley Woods to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland bird species, in particular warblers such as Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. We also hope to see and hear a wide range of woodland birds and hopefully Red Kite. Meet at the Thornley Woodland Centre car park, off the A694 at Rowlands Gill. Postcode NE39 1AU.
GNM © Andrew Haslam



Great North Museum 5th Birthday & Half-Tern Activities, Newcastle

24th May 2014
Saturday 24th - Saturday 31st May.

Come and help us celebrate the Great North Museum’s 5th birthday on 24 May with family fun activities all day. Throughout half-term week there will be themed activities including live animals on the Thursday and gems and crystals on the Friday.

For details:
Butterfly, ©Jim-Asher



Butterfly Identification at Havannah Nature Reserve, Hazelrigg

1st Jun 2014
Sunday 1 June, 11am-1pm.

Ken Dawson & Cathleen Thomas.

We will be looking for butterflies on the wing and learning how to tell the different species apart. There are a wide range of habitats on the reserve and with fine weather we should see a good variety of species including the rare Dingy Skipper.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.
harlequin ladybird



Introduction to Ladybirds, Newcastle

15th Jun 2014
Sunday 15 June, 11.30am-1pm.

Local expert Cathleen Thomas will give an introductory talk about the different ladybird species found in our area and we will then go out into the grounds of the museum and surrounding areas to find and identify ladybirds in the field.

Meet at the front desk of the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle, NE2 4PT.
Meadow Brown 2013 © NHSN



Bugs & Botany at Cockle Park, Northumberland

21st Jun 2014
Saturday 21 June, 10am-4pm.

Dr Gordon Port.

Join us for the start of National Insect Week to catch and identify insects and learn about plant research, including the Palace Leas Hay Meadow Experiment, started in 1896 this is one of the longest running experiments on plant ecology. The day will be suitable for anyone with an interest in insects and plants - from absolute beginner to expert. The event is suitable for all ages and runs 10am - 4pm. You can drop in for a short visit or stay for the whole day.

This event is being organised in collaboration with the Royal Entomological Society and Newcastle University. Cockle Park Farm is 4 miles north of Morpeth (between A1 and Ulgham). Postcode NE61 3EA or grid ref NZ201 911.
Gosforth Park Otter Gary Roseby web



New Members’ Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

22nd Jun 2014
Sunday 22 June, 10am-12am.

James Littlewood.

All new members are invited for an introductory walk around the reserve. The Society Director will show you the most important wildlife areas and explain how the reserve has changed over time and how we are managing it for the future. We hope this event will improve your enjoyment and appreciation of the reserve and its wildlife. Meet at the reserve entrance and wear boots if it has been wet.



Nightjar & Woodcock Walk, Slaley Forest, nr Blanchland

1st Jul 2014
Tuesday 1 July, 9pm-11pm.

James Littlewood.

Celebrate mid-summer with an evening 3 mile walk through the pine plantations at Slaley Forest. We will see and hear Nightjar and Woodcock as they emerge at dusk and learn more about these secretive birds. We also hope to see other woodland wildlife and plants.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.



North East Wildlife Photography Awards 2014

3rd Jul 2014
Thursday 3 July, 6pm-8pm.

Forget the Oscars, this is the awards ceremony that counts! Join us to see the short-listed entries, announce the winners, open the exhibition and meet other photographers.

There will also be a relevant talk with a guest speaker and refreshments available.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.



Cetacean Boat Trips, departing North & South Shields

11th Jul 2014
July 11, 18, 19 and August 1, 6pm-10pm.

Martin Kitching.

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group for any of these four hour evening pelagic trips in the North Sea looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds. Discounted cost for NHSN members is £28.

To book email Steve Lowe, with number of people, your name and a contact phone number. A £10 non-returnable deposit is required.
GPNR from Pyle Hide ©



Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

12th Jul 2014
Saturday 12 July, 10.30am – 3.30pm.

An opportunity to learn about the fauna and flora of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. Local experts will be on hand to talk to visitors about birds, plants, mammals and insects. Drop in anytime between 10.30am – 3.30pm. This is a partnership event with ERIC.

This event is open to the public. Please note that the ground can be wet, muddy and uneven, so please wear suitable footwear.
Burnet Moth Northumberland ©Olive Taylor



Moths at Gosforth Nature Reserve

12th Jul 2014
Saturday 12 July, 9.15pm – 11pm.

Join the County Moth Recorder, Tom Tams and reserve warden Paul Drummond to catch and identify moths. The moths are trapped using a bright light and enable you to get close up to these beautiful and rarely seen insects. Gosforth Park has a range of common and rare woodland moths.

We recommend you bring sunglasses as the trapping light is bright, a torch and insect repellent. Meet at the reserve entrance.
Solomon’s Seal



Plants & Butterflies of Hutton Roof Crag, Cumbria

13th Jul 2014
Sunday 13 July, 11am-4pm,

Dr Angus Lunn.

This Cumbria Wildlife Trust reserve includes splendid limestone pavement, and other mainly calcareous habitats. Special plants include Rigid Buckler-fern Dryopteris submontana, Limestone Fern Gymnocarpium robertianum, Angular Solomon’s Seal Polygonatum odoratum and Dark-red Helleborine Epipactis atrorubens. The site is also one of the best in the region for butterfly species.

The easiest approach is from the M6, leaving at the A65 Kirkby Lonsdale junction. From the A6070 (southwards) turn left along a minor road at Clawthorpes and within a mile park on the verge where there is a bridleway signpost for Burton (grid ref SD543783). Bring lunch and walking boots (the limestone pavement can be awkward, especially if damp).
Storm Petrel



Petrel ringing & BBQ at Whitburn Coastal Park, South Tyneside

19th Jul 2014
Saturday 19 July, 7.30pm-early hours!

During the summer the bird ringers at Whitburn Coastal Park observatory use tape lures to catch, ring and study species of petrel (mainly Storm Petrel). These small seabirds are rarely seen on land so this is an excellent chance (if we are lucky!) to get up close and learn about the work to study them. Durham Bird Club has kindly invited us to join them for a BBQ followed by ringing (the first birds are sometimes not caught until 1am).

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.
Marine Wildlife



North East Marine Wildlife Festival, Newcastle

19th Jul 2014
Saturday 19 July – Friday 25 July.

Help the Great North Museum: Hancock to celebrate our marine wildlife and explore the diversity of our regions’ seas and coasts through a series of free events, workshops and displays. Highlights of the week long festival include an interactive exhibition of inflatable life-size whales, dolphins and sharks, as well as impressive objects from the museum’s biology collection.

Full details at
butterfly orchid



Plants of East Chevington, Northumberland

20th Jul 2014
Sunday 20 July, 11am-4pm.

Professor John Richards.

From Druridge Bay Country Park we will walk south to Chibburn Mouth (2km) and perhaps beyond, concentrating on the flora of the dunes, and the grasslands inland. Amongst the orchids that have been recorded recently are Marsh Helleborine Epipactis palustris, Lesser Butterfly Orchid Platanthera bifolia and Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea. Dyer's Greenweed Genista tinctoria is locally abundant, and characteristic Northumberland dune plants such as Bloody Cranesbill Geranium sanguineum, Houndstongue Cynoglossum officinale and Burnet Rose Rosa spinosissima will be flowering freely. There should also be some butterflies on the wing and perhaps a bird or two.

Bring lunch and meet at Druridge Bay Country Park Visitor Centre (pay and display parking). Grid ref NZ271998 or postcode NE61 5BX.
Minke Whale © Martin Kitching



Big Watch Weekend

26th Jul 2014
Saturday 26 – Sunday 27 July.

Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC) North East ERIC North East is collaborating with local and national marine conservation charities to record sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises over a “Big Watch Weekend”. July is the best month to see a range of marine mammals off our coastline. ERIC will be recruiting a team of volunteers to help survey at key coastal watching sites and will be running training sessions in marine mammal identification prior to the event. To register your interest 0191 222 5158 or
dinosaur GNM



Summer Activities in the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

28th Jul 2014
28 July – 31 August.

Throughout the school holidays there will be themed activities for all the family. In particular, join us to help celebrate the museums 130th birthday from 18-24 August with a week of Hancock inspired activities, followed by Dinosaur week.

For details: nearer to the time.
Roseate Tern



Roseate Tern Evening, Coquet Island

31st Jul 2014
Thursday 31 July, 6.15pm.

David Noble-Rollin & Graham Bell.

This is a joint meeting of the North Northumberland Bird Club and the Society to see the Roseate Tern colony on Coquet Island. We hope to get excellent views of both adult and juvenile Terns from the boat which will be offshore near the colony. Other species of tern will also be there for comparison of their identification points. After watching the terns the boat will continue around the island and give an opportunity to look for shearwaters, skuas and seals.

Booking: the cost for the boat is £8.00 for adults and £4.00 for children. Please contact the Society Office to book places.
Dragonfly © Maria Schusler



Introduction to Dragonflies, Derwent Valley Walk

2nd Aug 2014
Saturday 2 August, 11am-1pm.

Expert Keith Gittens will take us along the varied habitats of the Derwent Valley, Gateshead, in search of dragonflies and damselflies. He will help us to find and identify the different species.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.
Theatre Royal, Newcastle



The Building Stones of Newcastle upon Tyne

2nd Aug 2014
Saturday 2 August, 11.00am-1pm.

Derek Teasdale

The churches, shops, banks and public buildings of Newcastle upon Tyne's city centre are built and/or faced with many types of stone. Whilst most use local sandstones of varying quality, many other buildings proudly display exotic rock types from around the globe. This gentle 2 hour walk will highlight some of the architectural and geologic gems right under our noses.

Suitable for all - beginners and experts alike.

Meet on the steps at the front of the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle (post code NE2 4PT).
Small mammals by veronica carnell



Small Mammals at Weetslade Country Park, Newcastle

9th Aug 2014
Saturday 9 August, 10am-12pm

Leader = Veronica Carnell

We will be examining bait tubes and live traps to see what small mammals live in the park. If we are lucky we should get up close to mice, voles and shrews. Accompanied children welcome. Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.



Plants of Hallington Reservoir, Northumberland

17th Aug 2014
Sunday 17 August, 2pm-5pm.

Professor John Richards.

We will walk to the causeway, and examine the draw-down area which has a rich and fascinating flora. Here we should see one of our smallest plants, Needle Spike-rush Eleocharis acicularis in great abundance, together with Shoreweed Littorella uniflora, Marsh Yellow-cress Rorippa palustris, Marsh Speedwell Veronica scutellata, Common Fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica, Amphibious Bistort Persicaria amphibia and many other plants. If we walk sufficiently far round the perimeter, we will encounter the rare sedge Carex oederi.

Meet on the minor road 1km north of Hallington Village at NY983769 (nearest postcode for Satnav NE19 2LR), where track leads to reservoir.
LindisfarneBoat_Anchor_2011 Terry Cavner



Lindisfarne Wildlife Exploration Day

6th Sep 2014
9.30am – 5.30pm (incl. travel time).

Join the Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC) North East and Northumbria Mammal Group for a small mammal survey and guided bird walk on Holy Island.

This event is suitable for children, it is free and transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock but booking is essential, call 0191 222 5158 or for more details.



Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

7th Sep 2014
Sunday 7 September, 7.45pm (1½ hours).

Jonathan Pounder

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be a short talk on bat biology and ecology, and as the sun is setting we will walk through the reserve looking for and listening to the bats we find.

This event is free but booking is required to limit numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.
Natural History Society Archives



Society Archives Heritage Open Day, Newcastle

12th Sep 2014
Friday 12 September, 11am-3pm.

We will be opening the doors of our prestigious Council Room in the Great North Museum: Hancock as part of the national Heritage Open Day weekend. We will be displaying some of our best archive material, including rare woodblocks by Thomas Bewick. Visitors can also see the historic furnishings and paintings in the room and talk with the Society’s Honorary Archivist, June Holmes.
Feral Goat



Wild Goats of the Cheviots, College Valley

14th Sep 2014
Sunday 14 September, 1.30pm.

Join former Northumberland National Park Ranger John Steele for a walk in the Cheviot Hills to see the wild goats that live there. John will help to track down the goats and talk about their origin, behaviour and habits. We will also see other upland wildlife and plants. We won’t know the general location of the goats until nearer to the date, and this will determine where we meet and how long the walk will last, however you should be prepared to walk a maximum of 5 miles (3 hours) in hilly terrain.

This event is free but you must reserve a place so that we can advise you of the exact meeting point nearer to the date. Please contact the Society Office to book.
Fungi Castle Eden Dene



Fantastic Fungi at Castle Eden Dene Nature Reserve, Peterlee

14th Sep 2014
Sunday 14th September, 10am-1pm.

ERIC North East & Natural England.

Find out more about the exciting world of fungi as we venture into Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve. Learn how to identify different species and play an active role in their conservation through recording.

This event is suitable for children, it is free and transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock but booking is essential, call 0191 222 5158 or for more details.



Bird migration at Whitburn Coastal Park, South Tyneside

20th Sep 2014
Saturday 20 September, 6.40am-10am.

Leaders: James Littlewood & Durham Bird Club.

We will be joining the bird ringers at Whitburn Coastal Park observatory to watch them in action and learn about their work. This stretch of coastline has an enviable reputation for migrant birds with Pallas’ Grasshopper, Greenish, Barred, Arctic and Yellow-Browed Warblers all seen last autumn! We will be mainly searching for migrant passerines but will also try our luck with seabirds if the weather conditions are good.

Meet at Whitburn Coastal Park car park, signed off A183 - turn right after entrance and drive to southern end of road (grid ref NZ410635).
Water shrew Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, © Mark Houghton



Small Mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

27th Sep 2014
Saturday 27 September, 10.30am (1½ hours).

Veronica Carnell

We will be examining bait tubes and Longworth live traps for signs and presence of small mammals (mice, voles and shrews), participants will be able to re-bait and reset the traps after examination if they wish. Accompanied children welcome. Please be prepared for muddy conditions underfoot. This event is part of our ongoing annual national survey for small mammals, which is being co-ordinated by the Mammal Society UK. Volunteers welcome, training provided.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

About Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Indoor Events

From October to March the Society invites regional and national experts in the natural world to give inspiring lectures to our members and the wider public.

Lectures are usually held every Friday evening, starting at 7pm, in the learning suite on the ground floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock. The museum is closed to the public at this time, so entry is via both side entrances.

Entry is from 6.20pm and tea, coffee and biscuits are available and the opportunity to socialise. Speakers give an illustrated presentation for 45mins-1 hour and then open the floor for questions and discussions.

On site parking is limited to blue badge holders only. There is a car park nearby on Claremont Road. The Museum is a 300m walk from Haymarket Metro and bus stations. For directions click here.

Non-members are very welcome to attend but we ask that they kindly make a donation on the night to support these lectures.

Outdoor Events

Throughout the year local experts lead field meetings to explore the natural world and magical landscapes of Northern England.

Outdoor events are free to members and their families. Some trips require us to hire boats or pay entrance fees and details of these costs are included in the information about the event.

For most events you can just turn up at the meeting place but some events must be booked in advance in order to manage numbers and this is stated in the information. You must make your own way to the meeting point. Please arrive early so that the event can start on time. Some activities last all day so you may need to take a drink and packed lunch with you.

In order to visit the best places our trips take place in natural landscapes that can be unpredictable. It is essential that you wear, or take with you, appropriate clothing and accessories to cope with heat, cold, wet, wind, biting insects and to walk on uneven, slippery or wet surfaces. Before you join any of our outdoor events it is essential that you read our Guidance.

Some events are run in partnership with other organisations or groups but otherwise our outdoor events are exclusively for Society members. If you are not a member and would like to attend an outdoor meeting then this can be arranged by contacting the Society office in advance and making a donation.