Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Showing 30 outdoor events




The plants of Slitt Wood, Weardale

30th May 2015
Saturday 30 May, 11am-3pm

Slitt Wood SSSI is in the valley of the Middlehope Burn in Weardale. We will walk through a variety of interesting habitats, including ancient woodland, calcareous grassland and the remains of an old lead mine. Plants we hope to see include Goldilocks Buttercup (Ranunculus auricomus), Sanicle (Sanicula europaea), Betony (Betonica officinalis) and the heavy-metal tolerant Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna) and Mountain pansy (Viola lutea).

Meet in the lay-by on the north side of the A689 at the western end of Westgate village (grid ref NY905381 or postcode DL13 1JL). Wear sturdy footwear as the ground is uneven and bring a packed lunch.

Leader: Angus Lunn
Butterfly, ©Jim-Asher



Brierdene BioBlitz, Whitley Bay

30th May 2015
Saturday 30 May, all day

Help the Friends of Brierdene record as many species as possible throughout the day. Everybody is welcome! The Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC) North East will be on hand to collate the results with great local experts to help with identification. Meet at the scout hut located in the large free car park behind the Briardene Pub (postcode NE26 1UE). Details at
Claxheugh rock by Craigy



Permian & Carboniferous Geology: Claxheugh Rock, Sunderland

6th Jun 2015
Saturday 6 June, 10.30am-3.30pm

We will see desert sandstones of the Yellow Sands as well as the top Carboniferous / base Permian unconformity below which the youngest Coal Measures to outcrop in northeast England are exposed. The Yellow Sands are overlain by the Magnesian Limestone (now called the Zechstein Group) which comprises, at its base, the Marl Slate (known for its well preserved fossil fish and plants) overlain by the limestones and dolomites of the Raisby and Ford formations, the latter containing a fossil reef with a wide variety of fossils.

Meet at the car park on Riverside Park, south bank of the River Wear at Claxheugh Rock, South Hylton, Sunderland (grid ref NZ360576 or postcode SR5 3JG). Bring lunch and hard hats are recommended.

Leader: Michael Mawson
Wren, Cresswell Peter Fawcett



Bird song in Thornley Woods, Rowlands Gill

11th Jun 2015
Thursday 11 June, 7.30am-9.30am

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.

Leader: David Noble-Rollin



Glow Worms at Thrislington, Sedgefield

20th Jun 2015
Saturday 20 June, 10pm-midnight

Burn the midnight oil with ERIC North East and Natural England at Thrislington National Nature Reserve in search of the elusive Glow Worms which inhabit this unique wildlife site.

This event is free but booking is essential. Transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle to Thrislington NNR and back again. Tel 0191 222 5158 or email to book your place or find out more.
Meadow Brown 2013 © NHSN



Bugs & Botany at Cockle Park, Northumberland

20th Jun 2015
Saturday 20 June, 10am-4pm.

Join us 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.

Leaders: Gordon Port & Janet Simkin
Tyne bridge Kittiwake and chick © Ian Cook



Kittiwake Watching

21st Jun 2015
Sunday 21 June. 10am-3.30pm. Drop-in at any time.

Every summer Newcastle-Gateshead quayside is home to 600 pairs of breeding Kittiwakes. At the end of June the chicks are hatched and hungry and the colony is a hive of activity. Join Society Director, James Littlewood at Newcastle Quayside to watch these fascinating seabirds and learn about them.

The watching will take place amongst the stalls of Newcastle's quayside market almost underneath the Tyne Bridge. We will have a telescope for close up views.



Nightjar & Woodcock Walk, Slaley Forest, nr Blanchland

23rd Jun 2015
Tuesday 23 June, 9.30pm-11pm.

Celebrate mid-summer with an evening 2 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.

Leader: James Littlewood.
Small_Pearl-Bordered_Fritillary © Chiswick Chap



Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at Waskerley, County Durham

25th Jun 2015
Thursday 25 June, 10.30am-3pm

The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is one of Durham’s rarest butterflies. A consortium of conservation organisations is working to restore suitable habitats for this species in the Waskerley area. Anne Porter from Durham Wildlife Trust and Dave Liddle from Durham County Council will lead this walk to look for the butterfly during its peak flight period. They will also talk about its life-cycle, habitat requirements and the work that they are doing to conserve this attractive butterfly.

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

Leaders: Anne Porter & Dave Liddle

Gosforth Park Otter Gary Roseby web



New Members’ Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

28th Jun 2015
Sunday 28 June, 10am-12pm.

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.

Leader: James Littlewood



Cetacean Boat Trips, departing North & South Shields

3rd Jul 2015
Fridays July 3, 10, 24 and 31, 6pm-10pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group for any of these four hour evening pelagic trips in the North Sea looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds. Early-bird discount for NHSN members is £27.50.

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

Leader: Martin Kitching from Northern Experience Wildlife Tours.
Butterfly, ©Jim-Asher



Butterflies at Bishop Middleham Quarry, nr Sedgefield

4th Jul 2015
Saturday 4 July, 10am-12.30pm.

Bishop Middleham Quarry in County Durham is a good place to see many of the butterfly species we have in the region, including the rare Northern Brown Argus which should be on the wing at this time. There are a variety of habitats, so Steve le Fleming from the local branch of Butterfly Conservation should be able to help show you which species live in which habitats. The quarry is also of considerable interest to botanists.

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

Leader: Steve le Fleming
Haltwhistle geology



The geology of Haltwhistle Burn, Northumberland

4th Jul 2015
Saturday 4 July, 10am-4pm

The Haltwhistle Burn cuts down through a cyclic sedimentary succession of Carboniferous Namurian strata deposited in the Northumberland Basin, with fluvial to shallow marine sediments being superbly exposed in the sides of the very picturesque gorge. A changing series of sedimentary environments is encountered that reflect the balance between fluvial progradation and marine transgression, and characterise the lower part of the Upper Carboniferous sedimentary history of the Northumberland Basin. Some superb sedimentary features are displayed, and the whole section allows one to embark on palaeogeographic reconstruction of this part of Britain in Namurian times.

Meet at Cawfields Quarry car park on Hadrian’s Wall, turn north off B6318 Military Road at Milecastle Inn (grid ref NY713666 or postcode NE49 9PJ). Pay & Display requires £1 & £2 coins. Bring packed lunch.

Leader: Paul Williams
Greater bladderwort



The plants of Caw Lough & Greenlee Lough, nr Bardon Mill

5th Jul 2015
Sunday 5 July, 10.30am-3pm

From West Hotbank we will walk east, and then southwest, to Caw Lough where we will see rich fen vegetation with 15 or more sedges. These include Lesser Tussock-sedge (Carex diandra) and Slender Sedge (C. lasiocarpa). We should also see Grey Club-rush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani), several orchids and much else. In the afternoon we will return to the farm and then down to the boardwalk in Greenlee Nature Reserve where there is a good range of sedges and pondweeds and we will try to relocate Greater Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris), last recorded in 1982.

Park at West Hotbank Farm (grid ref NY767693 or postcode NE47 7AR). It is approached by turning north off the Military road (B6318) at Once Brewed Visitor Centre, take first right towards Gibbs Hill and then right to Gallowshield Rigg and Bonnyrigg Hall, continuing to West Hotbank. This is mostly a surfaced road, ignore private road signs. Parking is rather limited so please car-share if you can. Bring lunch.

Leader: Prof John Richards
GPNR from Pyle Hide © Keith Cochrane



Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

11th Jul 2015
Saturday 11 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.
Tyne bridge Kittiwake and chick © Ian Cook



Kittiwake Watching

19th Jul 2015
Sunday 19 July. 10am-3.30pm. Drop-in at any time.

Every summer Newcastle-Gateshead quayside is home to 600 pairs of breeding Kittiwakes. In mid-July the chicks are getting ready to leave the nest and the colony is a hive of activity. Join Society Director, James Littlewood at Newcastle Quayside to watch these fascinating seabirds and learn about them.

The watching will take place amongst the stalls of Newcastle's quayside market almost underneath the Tyne Bridge. We will have a telescope for close up views.

This event is part of the North East Marine Wildlife Festival
Wild Flowers, ©James Littlewood



Beginners botany at the Spetchells, Prudhoe

19th Jul 2015
Sunday 19 July, 10.30am-12.30pm

If you would like to start to learn how to identify some of our wild flowers then this activity is for you! We will start by looking at the parts of the plant and how a little knowledge of this helps to correctly identify plants (not just by looking at the pictures!). We will walk through grassland and by the River Tyne to the vegetated chalk hills (not displaced southern Downs but wartime factory waste) looking at a wide variety of flowers along the way. Bring a plant ID book if you have one.

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

Leaders: Janet Simkin & Judy Summerson
Roseate Tern



Roseate Tern Evening, Coquet Island

20th Jul 2015
Monday 20 July, 6.15pm & Tuesday 21 July, 6.15pm

This is a joint meeting of the North Northumberland Bird Club and the Society to see the rare 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.

Leaders: David Noble-Rollin, Tom Cadwallander, Graham Bell & James Littlewood.



Seashore Explore, Whitley Bay

23rd Jul 2015
Thursday 23 July, 2pm – 4pm (including travel time)

Delve into the rockpools of St. Mary’s Island and discover the amazing variety of wildlife to be found there.

Transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock to St. Mary’s Island and back again. This is a family event which is part of the Marine Wildlife Festival. Free but booking is essential 0191 208 5158 or at
Minke Whale © Martin Kitching



Big Watch Weekend

25th Jul 2015
Saturday 25 – Sunday 26 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
Chillingham Bull copyright NHSN



Wild Cattle of Chillingham, Northumberland

1st Aug 2015
Saturday 1 August, 11am-1pm

The Wild Cattle of Chillingham are said to be the only survivors of the wild herds which once roamed Britain’s forests. They have lived for 800 years in a scenic park between Alnwick and Bamburgh. The herd numbers around 100. The Warden for the Chillingham Wild Cattle Association will escort us on an informative tour to see the herd and learn about their behaviour, ecology and history. They are completely untamed and have never been touched by human hand. We will enter their enclosure but remain at a safe distance. This outing will involve walking across open ground for at least 1km.

The cost for the tour is £8 adults, £6 (OAP) and £3 child. Please contact the Society Office to book.

Leader: Steve Lowe
purple hairstreak



Purple Hairstreak spotting at Gosforth Nature Reserve

8th Aug 2015
Saturday 8 August, 4pm – 5pm

Purple Hairstreak butterflies live entirely on Oak trees and there is a healthy population in the reserve. They are very attractive but live in the tree tops and are difficult to see. Join reserve warden Paul Drummond for this drop in session to try and see these butterflies, which tend to be most active on sunny afternoons. Bring binoculars if you have them.

Meet on the woodland path just past the members hut near the reserve entrance.
Burnet Moth Northumberland ©Olive Taylor



Moths at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

12th Aug 2015
Wednesday 12 August, 8.45pm – 10.15pm

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.
No Photo Found



Northumberland Coast Bioblitz, Low Newton by-the-Sea

21st Aug 2015
Friday 21 August 11pm – Saturday 22 August 11pm

For 24 hours local naturalists will attempt to record as many species of the flora and fauna as possible. If you want to improve your identification skills or are just keen to see local wildlife, everyone is welcome! From rockpooling to moth surveys there will be lots to get involved with. Times of specific activities tbc, details near the time at
Bamburgh castle and rocks



The geology of Beadnell & Bamburgh

22nd Aug 2015
Saturday 22 August, 10am-3.30pm

We will visit the coast and explore Upper and Middle Limestone groups of the Carboniferous including associated coals along with later igneous intrusions such as the Beadnell Dyke and Whin Sill. Will involve visiting 2 sites with total walking distance of around 4 miles.

Meet in the public car park in Beadnell (grid ref NU 235288 or postcode NE67 5EG). Bring a packed lunch.

Leader: Karl Egeland-Eriksen
Bumble Bee © James Petts



Surveying bees of Northumberland, Newcastle

25th Aug 2015
Tuesday 25 August, 10am-1pm

Bees are important pollinators that play an essential role in our ecosystems and farming but we still have very limited information about where the different species live. In this event you will learn how to identify the different bee species found in Northumberland, including looking in the grounds for them. We hope that afterwards you will be able to identify bees and send us your records to help improve our knowledge of their distribution in our region.

This free event is being delivered in partnership with Northumberland Wildlife Trust and takes place at St Nicholas Park in Gosforth. To book or 0191 284 6884.
harlequin ladybird



Introduction to Ladybirds, Newcastle

27th Aug 2015
Thursday 27 August, 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.



Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

6th Sep 2015
Sunday 6 September, 7.45-9.15pm

Evening event starting around sunset and continuing until 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, hopefully species of Pipistrelle, Duabenton’s and Noctule.

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

Leader: Jonathan Pounder
Water shrew Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, © Mark Houghton



Small Mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

19th Sep 2015
Saturday 19 September, 10.30am-12.30pm

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.

Leader: Veronica Carnell



Bird migration at Low Newton, Northumberland coast

20th Sep 2015
Sunday 20 September, 8am-10.30am

We will start the morning with a visit to the Society’s bird ringers to watch them in action and learn about their work at Low Newton. This is the peak autumn migration period so afterwards we will look around this small National Trust nature reserve for passerines, waders and seabirds. Local expert Jimmy Steele knows the site well and will help to point out the birds and how to identify them. If the weather is in our favour we hope to see some uncommon species. Bring binoculars. Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

Leader: Jimmy Steele

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.