Field Trips – All about Mike + John’s geology ‘Walks’ for 2017


In chronological order: if it’s an upcoming trip, it will be at the top!
Past trips down towards the bottom.

  John Wong Field Trip

NEW DATE – 23rd April 2017!!

 Sunday 9th April – Half-Day informal discussion/workshop at Trent Country Park Cafe:  Glacial erratic fossils and Cretaceous phosphatic nodules (coprolites?) from Barrington Quarry, Cambridgeshire, led by John Wong.

Back in 2010, John led a field trip to the quarry which is famous for the youngest geological age ichthyosaur having been found there in the chalk in 2005.  During the AGS visit numerous fossils were found including a marine reptilian tooth, fish scales and bones, shark teeth, bivalves, brachiopods, ammonites etc.  This was followed by a visit to the NHM to see the ongoing conservation and restoration work on the fossil ichthyosaur skeleton.  

During the workshop, the fossil finds will be discussed, therefore any AGS members with rocks and fossils from the 2010 visit to the Barrington Quarry please remember to bring them along.  Please book your place using John Wong’s normal contact details which can be found in the latest newsletter.                   John Wong


 FRIDAY 5 May : ‘ Science in Bloomsbury’

Starting at 2pm. by the statue of Stephenson outside Euston station. After a visit to the Welcome Collection and coffee in the café we will look for the founder of medicine, a Pre-Cambrian conglomerate boulder, a three legged Quagga, disease vector factors and the discoverer of Oxygen. We will finish near Russell Square station at about 4.30 pm. COST £8.                                                   Mike Howgate

 Sunday 14 MAY   DINOSAUR DAY SCHOOL – contact Mike Howgate if interested.


FRIDAY 19 May ‘The Greek revival in Bloomsbury’

A two hour walk looking at how the inspiration of ancient Greek architecture was used in the Georgian development of Bloomsbury.   Meeting at the Robert Stephenson statue outside Euston station at 2 pm. Cost £8.     Mike Howgate


SATURDAY 3 June ‘The Livery Halls of the City of London’

A two hour walk around the halls of a variety of Livery Companies including the Mercers, Grocers, Skinners (and Fanmakers), Vintners, Wax Chandlers and Goldsmiths.   Their history, mottos and coats of arms will be explained. Meet above Bank station exit 3 at 2 pm. Cost £8.                                       Mike Howgate


Mike Howgate will be organising this field trip for the Kirkaldy Society and the Amateur Geological Society and it will be open to any of you who want to come along. The only condition is that you take out annual membership of the AGS which is £15. This will cover you, me and the leader with the insurance cover of the Geologists’ Association for the trip.

The leader will be Brian Young who was senior geologist of the Geological Survey for the North of England. We will be based at the Teesdale Hotel, Middleton in Teesdale, County Durham.

Provisional Itinerary:

Friday 9 June (Early afternoon): Geological and Historical tour of Durham Cathedral. Travel to the Teesdale Hotel and dinner at the hotel.

Saturday 10 June: TEESDALE ( whole day ) Visit to High Force, Low Force & Cow Green to see spectacular and easily accessible exposures of the Whin Sill, its wall-rocks and spectacular scenery. We could also include visits to sites of mineralogical and botanical interest.

Sunday 11 June: WEARDALE & NENTHEAD ( whole day ) To include an attractive and easy traverse of several typical Yoredale cyclothems in Middlehope Burn, together with magnificent sections of major lead/iron/fluorite mineralisation. At Nenthead, amid fine examples of lead mining landscape, we can examine classic examples of lead/zinc replacement mineralisation and discuss recent base-metal exploration.

Monday 12 June: KILLHOPE ( morning ) Depart hotel and travel to Killhope to visit the lead mining museum and take a trip down the mine followed by short stops at Stanhope ( fossil tree stump ) and Frosterley ( marble exposures ) on the way back to Durham / A1.

The cost will include B & B, dinner at the hotel on the Friday night and packed lunch on Saturday and Sunday. The cost will be Double / Twin   £200 per person; Singles – 3 rooms at £240; 1 smaller room at £220, a Double / Twin room at single occupancy £300.

To book send a deposit of £50 per person to Mike Howgate, 71 Hoppers Road, Winchmore Hill, London N21 3LP. State the type and price of the room you wish to book and make the cheque out to Mike Howgate.

MIKE’S WALKS     Lots of them!

Saturday 24 June:   Exploring Geology and Churches in Buckinghamshire ( 3 )

The area East and North of Aylesbury. We will meet up at Wing church at 10.30am which is just off the A418 west of Leighton Buzzard. We will then visit Stewkley and Soulbury where the devil’s erattic has just been saved. After lunch at Waddesdon Manor we will walk around the gardens to see the spectacular ‘Pulhamite’ cliffs and grotto then travel to the village of Quainton to see Portlandian fossils. Cost: £15.

In JULY and AUGUST I am organising three trips down the Darent Valley in Kent. This is arguably the most picturesque and interesting area near London. Arthur Mee ( editor of The King’s England series of county guide books ) built his house overlooking Eynsford and described his view as “ unique on the map of rural England”. Come and see if he was right!

Mike Howgate

Saturday 1 July: From EYNSFORD to LULLINGSTONE and back again.  (Walk 1)

Meeting at ‘The Castle’ pub in Eynsford at 10. 30 am we will visit Eynsford Castle and Church, then cross the picturesque ford across the Darent river and follow the river downstream to our lunch stop at the Countryside Centre. Then on our way back we will visit ‘The Church on the Lawn’ of Lullingstone Castle and Lullingstone Roman Villa ( admission charge of £ 7.70 but FREE to English Heritage members so bring your card! ) COST £12.  

Mike Howgate

  Saturday 22 July: SHOREHAM to the LAVENDER FARM and back again. (Walk 2)

Meeting at Shoreham village car park at 10.30 am. we will visit a Battle of Britain museum in a front room and a shed and have coffee / tea then walk across country to the Lavender Farm and Shop. The hillside should be purple with lavender and the hops should be well advanced.  We will have lunch at the Countryside Centre then wend our way back to Shoreham through countryside described by Samuel Palmer, the artist, as “the veil of heaven”. We will pass Palmer’s house on our way to visit Shoreham church which has a memorial window to the Victorian geologist Joseph Prestwich.  Cost £12. 

Mike Howgate

Saturday 5 August: OTFORD and a trip around the SOLAR SYSTEM.    (Walk 3)

Meeting at Otford village car park at 10.30 am. we will walk around the largest scale model in the known universe which will take about 2 hours, depending on whether we get lost on the way to Pluto. After lunch in Otford we will interpret the village millennial mosaic then visit the church and the remains of Otford Palace before trying to find a sacred spring.

Cost £12 per walk or £30 for all three in advance or at the first walk.

Mike Howgate

Friday 8 September – The Industrial Archaeology of Brentford.

Meet up at the entrance of Kew Museum of Water and Steam (TW8 0EN) at 10.30 am. for a two hour walk around the industrial heritage of the area where the Grand Union Canal meets the River Thames. We will cross a ship repair yard which is still operating and walk through one of the earliest dockside re-developments.   COST: £8.

Mike Howgate

Friday 22 September – Guildhall and the governance of the City of London

The City of London Corporation dates back to the early Middle Ages when it won the right to elect its own Shire Reeves and Mayor. This it still does, although to be an elector you have to be a ‘Freeman’ of the City and ‘Liveryman’ of one of the City’s Livery Companies. All will be explained as we explore the Medieval Guildhall and the Modern Guildhall Art Gallery with its Roman amphitheatre in the basement. We will meet up at 11 am. above exit 3 of Bank station. COST: £8.

Mike Howgate

Friday 6 October: ‘More Hertfordshire churches’.

This ‘car sharing’ trip will include the churches at Waterford for its William Morris stained glass , Knebworth where I will explain the momento mori on the monuments, Walkern for its spectacular memorial to a Magna Carta ‘Charter’ Baron, and Pirton for the story of the missing fossil. We will meet up the South Mimms M1 / M25 services at a table near the café entrance at 10 am.   COST: £12.

Mike Howgate

Friday 20 October: The TEMPLE of MITHRAS at BUCKLERSBURY.

This will be a visit to the newly opened Bloomberg HQ designed by Norman Foster. The most important part of which is the re-siting of the Temple of Mithras back on the site where it was excavated in the mid-1950’s. After visiting the re-sited remains we will walk to the Museum of London to see the original excavated sculptures of Mithras, Serapis, Athena, Mercury and Baccus. Meeting above exit 3 of Bank underground station at 2 pm. COST: £8.                              

 Mike Howgate  

Some past AGS Field Trips:

Mike Howgate

THURSDAY 6 APRIL 2017: ‘The Pulhamite Industry’ in Hertfordshire’.

We will start at the café alongside the River Lea at Broxbourne about 200 yards south of Broxbourne station at 11 am. We will look at the watermill remains then walk along the New River past Broxbourne church to the site of the Pulhamite factory where this type of artificial stone was produced. After lunch at the café we will visit the museum in Hoddesdon to see a new exhibition on Pulhamite. We will also visit ‘High Leigh’ conference centre where there is a Millstone Grit ravine reconstructed in Pulhamite in the grounds. COST £12.

Mike Howgate

FRIDAY 31 MARCH 2017    ‘The Financial City’

To celebrate the new ‘pound in your pocket’ we will have a walk around City institutions past and present, investigating the origin and development of Trade, Finance and Insurance in this Mecca of Money.  We will also visit the old bank vaults in the ‘Counting House ‘ pub.  The walk will finish at the Museum of the Bank of England where you can get your hands on £250,000 in gold. Meeting above exit 3 of Bank tube station at 11 am. COST £8.     Mike Howgate

John Wong

Thursday 2nd March 2017 – River Thames Intertidal Foreshore Walk.

Please see ‘Gallery’ for more photos of the trip


Geology, geomorphology, sedimentology, building stones and geoarchaeology of the lower Thames foreshore along the South Bank in Southwark, London.

Bring wellington boots or good walking boots and, for health and safety reasons some plastic gloves for when handling items retrieved from the foreshore.

John will give an introductory talk on the geology of the Thames flood plain, historical reasons for the siting of Londinium and also explain the regulations on foreshore walks.

A variety of items may be found, from prehistoric flint tools, medieval pottery and Victorian ceramics through to 20th century rubbish!  The various interesting stones used for the onshore buildings will also be studied.  Bring a packed lunch as in the afternoon we will travel to Fulham for a lunch break followed by a tour of Fulham Palace, see the building stones of St. Mary Magdalen Church and also Putney Bridge.

Saturday 29th October 2016

– Led by John Wong

IMG_7666.jpg  Please see ‘Gallery’ for photos of the trip

Geology of the late Precambrian ocean island arc volcanism and the paleo-environments of the Triassic Period in the deepest quarry in England. The stratigraphy is complex and the geology is significant because the quarry exhibits many of the Precambrian rocks whereas other areas in England have very low exposures. In the quarry there are large scale folds and faults of the Caledonian Orogeny, and spectacular pre-Triassic buried paleo-landscape. Full details in the A.G.S. October newsletter.

Every participant must comply with Bardon Hill Quarry’s personal protective equipment regulation – hard hat, high-visibility jacket (not vest), high visibility trousers, gloves, lace-up boots and safety glasses. You will not be allowed to go into the working quarry if you do not come with full personal protective equipment as required by the quarry management.

AGS Field Trip, led by John Wong

Watling Street Part 7 SUNDAY 11th SEPTEMBER 2016   

The trip  was in Bucks and looked at Cretaceous geology.  It included building stones and geoarchaeology at Little Brickhill and Danesborough Hill Iron Age Fort.

Cretaceous Woburn Sands (Greensands) which were Red, Brown and Silver on Aspley Heath. In addition, Danesborough Hill Iron Age Fort + a Coaching Inn, the ‘Stable Yard’, the Court House, Snowberry Lake et al. and finally lovely Little Brickhill Church. (Thanks to Chris & Karen Philbin our guides around the village) A good walk and a good geological day out!

Please see Gallery for photos of the trip!

Watling Street Part 8 will be to Milton Keynes in 2017….

MIKE’S Car Trip and Walks

Mike’s ‘Bucks, Geology and Churches trip # 2’ Sat 10th September 2016

A small group, 11 in all, met up at Dinton church at 10.30 am. After examining the building stone, a local variety of Portland stone which is creamy and full of casts and moulds of bivalves, we tried to interpret the tympanum above the Romanesque doorway. Dragons eating the fruit of the Tree of Life and St Michael fending off a fire-breathing Dragon??

We then visited two Wichert villages, Westlington, really just a hamlet, and Cuddington in a torrential downpour. Wichert is crushed limestone rubble mixed with clay and straw and the MUD cottages produced have distinctive rounded corners and un-ever walls.

After lunch in the Bugle Horn Inn, which has giant ammonites set into the car park wall, we travelled to Stone church to see its unique ‘PAGAN’ font where I tried to explain the iconography – everyone was suitably bemused. Our final stop was the hill-top village of Brill where the surviving windmill was surrounded by a ‘moonscape’ of old brick-pits. Rather than look for these in the sodden grass we retired to the Pheasant pub for a well-deserved coffee and a wide ranging discussion mainly centred on Brickmaking and Fracking.    –   Mike Howgate

See ‘Gallery’ for photos of the ‘walk’……

Friday 16th September:  1066 and all that in London with Mike

The City of London was never conquered by Duke William and so as a city guide I am not allowed to call him ‘the Conquerer’.  Come along and find out why as we visit ‘Norman’ and others sites in the City and finishing in the Tower of London.  Starting with coffee at the ‘Cafe´ Below’, St. Mary le Bow on Cheapside at 11.00am. (nearest underground St. Pauls)

AGS field meeting, led by John Wong

Field meeting to Great Tew working quarry and Churches, Oxfordshire, Saturday 23rd July 2016.

Jurassic Pliensbachian Marlstone Rock and Toarcian transitional beds.

Please see Gallery for photos of the trip!!


Thanks to John for a brilliant day out!

and to Paul from the quarry for taking us round and explaining the workings of the site.

 Last minute changes to a meeting, field trip, talk or walk due to unforeseen circumstances will also be posted here……


Picture: kind permission of Adriana Cerdeira

MIKE’S WALK on behalf of the GA.


A day trip for the Geologists’ Association with the Kirkaldy Society.

In the morning will search out the evidence for geologically based industries in the small area around Pinks Farm between Ridge and Ridge Hill.   We will spend about two hours exploring the area, where we will find dean holes dug by Chalk Drawers (now a bat hibernicularium), Old Chalk quarries, brick and sand pits ( one of which is featured on William Smith’s 1815 map), in what must have been a hive of extractive industrial activity 150 years ago.

After lunch in the nearby Old Guinea pub which doubles as a pizzeria we will examine the geomorphology of the area in a three mile walk from Ridge village across the Stanmoor Gravel plateau and follow the Catherine Bourne to its terminal swallow hole.

To book on this trip contact Sarah Stafford at there will be an administration fee of £5.    

ONLY 7 PLACES REMAINING!                                                  Mike Howgate