Welcome to our action-packed Summer programme of talks, outings and activities.
Monday 10 April, 10.30 – 12.30
As part of school holiday activities, pop into the learning zone of the Bones exhibition for an opportunity to discover more about the wonder of animal skeletons with Clare and Suzanne.
Free drop-in family friendly session at the Great North Museum: Hancock.
Tuesday 25 April, 10am
A morning walk led by Society Member and local birder Philip Jordan, looking and listening for spring birds. We hope to find spring migrants in the woodland and wetlands of the nature reserve such as Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Grasshopper Warbler, Sand Martin and Common Tern.
This event is free, meet at the reserve entrance. Paths may be muddy, please wear suitable footwear.
Friday 28 April, 2 – 4 pm
Join curator Sylvia Humphrey to discover a range of Permian and Carboniferous fossils, fish, plants, vertebrates and invertebrates, including rare gliding reptile fossil. Minerals from the North Pennines and elsewhere. Concretionary Limestone (‘cannonball rock’).
Sorry but this event is not suitable for young children, older children must be accompanied by an adult.
Free event, meet Sunderland Museum, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR1 1PP.
Friday 28 April 5.30 – 7.30pm
After hours talk for grown-ups inspired by the new family exhibition Bones: Skeleton Secrets of the Animal World. You’ll enjoy a private view of the exhibition and special bone-themed talks from expert speakers. We’re even giving you the opportunity to try some interesting bones broths with Sam Storey, research chef at Durham University.
Dr Jenny Walsh (University of Sheffield) – ‘The living skeleton’
Dr Christy Ducker (Newcastle University) – Talk TBC
Book online in advance.
Sun 7th May 2017, 10am – 3.30pm
The movement of glacier ice across Northumberland during the Quaternary has both eroded bedrock weaknesses where they exist, and deposited extensive drumlin fields. The interaction of the bedrock geology and ice flow direction created a continuum of landforms. These range in size from small scratches on rock surfaces, to Mega-Scale Glacial Lineations, up to 10s of km in length. These landforms can be interpreted to tell us about the retreat of ice some 20 to 14 thousand years ago.
Join Derek Teasdale for this full-day trip which begins by examining the largest terminal moraine of the inland ice at Kirkley Hall. In the afternoon, we will undertake a car-based journey, in an up-ice direction, to examine glacial landforms, before finishing near Kirkwelpington, Northumberland. Bring a packed lunch. Walking will be along country paths, across fields and over stiles. This is a joint field meeting with North Eastern Geological Society.
Meet at 10.00 am at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland, Northumberland, NE20 0AQ. The car park is free, with a cafe and toilets available.
Wednesday 26 April to Wednesday 3 May 2017.
Wednesday 10 May to Wednesday 17 May 2017 (fully booked).
A week-long Society holiday of birdwatching and botanical walks and excursions from the plains to the stunning snow-capped pinnacles of the high Pyrenees. This tour will offer us a chance to explore a wide range of habitats including lowland wetlands, dry steppe, rocky crags and hidden river valleys and high mountains and is being organised in partnership with NatureTrek.
Based firstly at the monastery of Santa Maria de Bellpuig, near les Avellanes, and then Espot in the Pyrenees, with excursions to surrounding areas. Highlights are numerous but include: Little Bustard, Bee-eater, Black Wheatear, Lammergeier, several eagle species, Black Woodpecker, Squacco Heron and Alpine Accentor. Wonderful spring flowers including alpine specialities. Reptiles, butterflies & other insects. Direct flights from/to Newcastle. Price of £1,410pp (£140 single sup) includes accommodation, food, flights and guides. Click here for the full itinerary, details and how to book your place.
Friday 12 May 5.30 – 7.30pm
Enjoy special after hours access to the museum and talks inspired by our Bones exhibition Please feel free to explore the exhibition from 5.30-6pm
You’ll enjoy a private view of the exhibition and special bone-themed talks from expert speakers. We’re even giving you the opportunity to try some interesting bones broths with Sam Storey, research chef at Durham University.
Professor Drew Rowan (Newcastle University) – ‘Unravelling cartilage destruction in athritis’
Professor Mark Wilkinson (University of Sheffield) – ‘Patient decision aids for joint replacement’
Book a ticket in advance.
Friday 19 May, 2.00pm
An afternoon tour with Peter Davis exploring the fascinating history of the Great North Museum:Hancock, with a chance to hear about some of the most important natural history specimens that are on display. Where did these specimens come from, how and when were they collected and who collected them? Why are they considered to be so significant even today? The geographical range of the specimens collected is of particular interest – why do we have early material from Australia, Egypt and Iceland? Who were the amazing people who despite the hardships of travel, spent their time and money making collections of birds, insects and fossil reptiles? Peter was previously Deputy Curator of the museum and has a keen interested in the stories and personalities associated with specific museum specimens.
Free event, no booking required.
Saturday 20 May, 7.30am – 9.30am
An early morning visit to Thornley Woods with David Noble-Rollin to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland and riverine species, all warblers present, an especially good site for distinguishing Blackcap and Garden Warbler.
Free event, no booking required. Meet at the Visitor Centre, Rowlands Gill NE39 1AU.
Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 June, 10am-4pm
A 2-day course run by the North Pennines AONB Partnership covering the identification and ecology of wild bees led by renowned entomologist, Steven Falk, author of the new ‘Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland‘.
On day one, Steven will show you how to identify bees under the microscope and how to collect, record and photograph them. On day two (weather permitting) we will go out and look at bees and their habitats at local wildlife sites in beautiful Upper Teesdale. Newbiggin Village Hall, Barnard Castle.
£60 per person. Book online here.
Saturday 10 June, 11 am-3pm
Join Dr Gordon Port to explore Bishop Middleham Quarry, a disused Magnesian limestone quarry now managed as a nature reserve by Durham Wildlife Trust. It has a wide range of attractive flowering plants including Pyramidal, Common Spotted, Fragrant and Bee Orchids, Dark Red Helleborine, Common Rock-rose, Fairy Flax and other limestone species. If we are lucky enough to have a fine day, several species of butterfly should be flying, including Northern Brown Argus, Ringlet, Common Blue and Small Heath.
The reserve is situated half a mile north of Bishop Middleham village, to the west of the A177 at grid reference NZ331326 (OS Explorer 305 Landranger 93). Parking in two small roadside lay-bys near reserve entrance and is limited, so car-sharing would be an advantage. Access to the quarry floor is by way of steep steps, but otherwise walking is level although may be rough underfoot.
Saturday 10th June 11.00am – 3.30pm
Join Derek Teasdale for a gentle walk down through the oldest parts of Newcastle city to explore the medieval town plan, and how it helps us uncover the hidden rivers that criss-cross the city. The geology underlying the city, and its streams, had an influence on the development of its Medieval street plan, which can still be traced. We will make a meandering progress towards the river Tyne, by following the back streets and lanes of the Medieval city.
The walking is quite gentle, but we will be on our feet all-day. We will have a mid-way break for lunch in a local cafe, but feel free to bring a packed lunch.
Meet at 11.00 am, next to the City Wall at the north end of Stowell Street (beside the Chinese Arch). Expected finish time: 3.30 pm on the quayside. There are local city bus services from our finish point.
Sunday 11 June, 11am
Talkin Tarn is a small lake in a hollow among mounds of sand and gravel left by the decaying ice sheet. Join Professor John Richards to circumnavigate the lake (good footpaths), about two miles. There is a good mix of habitats including wet meadows with orchids, aquatics (including the rare Elatine hexandra), heathland with Bog Whortleberry Vaccinium uliginosum, and woodland with a well-known population of Sword-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia. There are also interesting dragonflies and birds.
Meet at the Talkin Tarn car park (NY544591) at 11 am. This is brown signposted from the A69 Brampton bypass. There is a charge for the car park. Bring a picnic lunch.
Throughout the year 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 event information.
For many events you can just turn up at the meeting place but some events must be booked in advance 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.
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 activity then please contact the Society Office in advance – we would welcome a donation or please consider joining us.
From October to March the Society invites experts in the natural world to give inspiring lectures to our members and the wider public.
Unless stated lectures are held on Friday evenings at 7pm in the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle. 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/biscuits are available and the opportunity to socialise. Speakers give an illustrated presentation for 45mins-1 hour and then open the floor for questions.
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.
To download our talks programme, click here.