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!
Previous trips, just to see what you have missed, are down towards the bottom.
AGS Field Trips are free to members, £2 to non-members.
Mikes private walks: cost as stated. 

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

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Picture: kind permission of Adriana Cerdeira




MIKE’S WALKS AND TALKS FOR 2107 –  UPDATED 



Sunday 1st October – Visit to ‘Dinosaurs Of China’  is cancelled…

– Instead I will be running this trip through the Geologists Association – go to their website for details:     www.geologistsassociation.org.uk





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  

To book a place please send a cheque made out to MIKE HOWGATE to

M. E. Howgate, 71 Hoppers Road, Winchmore Hill, London N21 3LP.

Include details of the walk(s) you are interested in, check the total cost and include your address, email and contact number.    


 I WILL HAVE A TABLE AT THE FOLLOWING SHOWS:

 G.A. Festival of Geology: Saturday 4 November (10.30 am – 4.30 pm) at University College, Gower St., London. Entrance FREE.

 North London Mineral, Gem and Fossil Show: Saturday 25 November (10.00 am – 4.00 pm) NOTE NEW VENUE. Trinity Church, Nether Street, N12 which is near Tally Ho Corner . Adm. £2.

 Essex Gem and Mineral Show: Saturday 17 February 2018 (10 am – 4 pm.) North Romford Community Centre, Clockhouse Lane, Collier Row, RM5 3QJ.   Adm. £2.

 e-mail:   mehowgate@hotmail.com if you want to be on my ‘walks and talks’ mailshot







Some past AGS Field Trips:

Friday 6 October: ‘More Hertfordshire Churches’.   See ‘GALLERY‘ for photos of the walk.

MEETING UP AT THE M1 / M25 ( South Mimms ) services at 10 am.

This ‘car sharing’ trip will include the churches at Waterford ( St. Michael and all Angels) for its William Morris stained glass where we will be given a guided tour by the churchwarden. Then to St Mary & St Thomas in Knebworth Park where I will explain my research into the momento mori on the monuments which appeared in two issues of the Parish Magazine, Then to Walkern where I have booked a table in the delightful Brewery Tearooms. After lunch we will visit the church of St. Mary the Virgin which has a spectacular Purbeck marble memorial to a Magna Carta ‘Charter’ Baron. Our final stop will be St. Mary the Virgin in Pirton for the story of the missing fossil fish and the Hertfordshire Dinosaur Iguanodon hilli. Remember we will meet up the South Mimms M1 / M25 services at a table near the café entrance at 10 am.   COST: £12.

YOU CAN PAY ON THE DAY BUT LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE COMING SO THAT I CAN BOOK THE RIGHT SIZED TABLE AT THE BREWERY TEAROOMS!

Mike Howgate




Friday 8 September 2017 – The Industrial Archaeology of Brentford.

Meet up at the entrance of Kew Museum of Water and Steam (TW8 0EN, nearest B.R. station Kew Bridge) 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 – Pay on the day.

Mike Howgate




John Wong AGS Field Trip

Sunday 20th August 2017:  Geology Around Shepshed And Thringstone, Leicestshire. 

Led by Keith Ambrose and John Wong

John has invited Keith Ambrose to lead this field trip.  Keith is the former regional field geologist for the British Geological Survey and knows the geology of the East Midlands area well, especially Leicestershire.

We will visit six or more localities depending on the time available and accessibility of the sites on the day.  At Grace Dieu Priory ruins there are building stones from the local Charnian Supergroup, tuffs and Peldar Dacite Brecccia, Carboniferous Tickow Limestone and Precambrian North Charnwood Diorite.  At Cademan woods there is an outcrop of Grimley Andesite of the Whitwick Complex.  At Grace Dieu inlier there is the most southerly exposure of the Peak Limestone group, formerly the Carboniferous Limestone.  In a disused quarry near Calvery Rock there are exposures of secondary tufa and Triassic breccia.  West of the Grace Dieu Brook there is Carboniferous dolomitic limestone below the Triassic unconformity.  The Triassic outcrops are of the Shepshed  Sandstone member, formerly known as the Lower Keuper Sandstone.  Shepshed Sandstone was once worked for lead minerals.  At Ticknall Lane bridge there are glaciofluvial deposits of the Pleistocene.

There will be a lunch stop at a local public house or you can bring a packed lunch if you prefer.




MIKE’S WALKS

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!

NOTE: I can pick up rail travellers from nearby stations so please contact me if you need this.

Walk No.1      

Saturday 1 July 2107: From LULLINGSTONE and EYNSFORD .

( NOTE : Change of meeting place )

Meeting at Lullingstone Roman Villa at 10.30 am ( admission charge of £ 7.70 but FREE to English Heritage members so bring your card! ) we will then follow the river downstream to our lunch stop at the Countryside Centre, on our way we will visit ‘The Church on the Lawn’ at Lullingstone Castle. After lunch we will return to the car park and drive back to Eynsford where we will visit Eynsford Castle and the Church. DRIVERS NOTE : Do not cross the picturesque ford across the Darent river use the bridge.               COST £12.  

Walk No.2

Saturday 22 July: SHOREHAM to the LAVENDER FARM and back.

Meeting at Shoreham Village car park at 10.30 am.  (Satnav TN14 7SR)

I can pick people up who are travelling by train from London. There is a train which gets in at 9.34 am. at Shoreham station and I will pick up from there at 9.40 am.

We will walk from the car park past some picturesque alms houses to the ‘Battle of Britain Museum’ which is in a front room and a shed and a collection of the remains of crashed aircraft found in Kent and their stories. We will have coffee / tea in the museum 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 make our way back to Shoreham through countryside described by Samuel Palmer, the Victorian 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. We will explore the village as we make our way back to the car park.

     COST £12 can be paid on the day.

Walk No.3

Saturday 5 August: OTFORD and a trip around the SOLAR SYSTEM.

 Meeting at Otford village car park at 10.30 am. ( TN14 5PQ )  I can pick up from Otford station at 9.40 am. We will walk around the Otford Solar System model which is the largest scale model in the known universe. The full walk will take about 2 hours, depending on whether we get lost on the way to Pluto or not. 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 can be paid on the day.                                     Mike Howgate







Saturday 24 June 2017:   Exploring Geology and Churches in Buckinghamshire ( 3 )

Revised Itinerary

This is a car sharing trip.   Cost £15.00

Meet up at the Cock Inn in the High Street, Wing ( LU7 0NR ) It will be open for coffee from 10 am.  It is just off the A418 west of Leighton Buzzard . I suggest we park up in their car park, use the facilities and have a coffee. We can also check out the menu and book lunch before we meet up at 10.30 am under the lych-gate of All Saints church. This is an outstanding example of Anglo-Saxon architecture with some spectacular monuments inside. We will then visit the churchyard of St. Mary’s Mentmore to see the exotic gravestones and speculate on where they might have come from,

Then it is on to Stewkley where St. Michael’s is, according to Pevsner, “ the most splendid piece of Norman parochial architecture in Buckinghamshire, and in addition exceptionally complete and unaltered”. Nearby Soulbury has a church with radically different building stones and a glacial erattic, which locals claim is the DEVIL’s BOOT has just been saved from transportation by Bucks. council.

After lunch at the Cock Inn in Wing we will then travel to the village of Quainton with its spectacular windmill. We will perambulate around the village looking for Portlandian fossils. Finally we will go to Waddesdon Manor ( National Trust so bring your card ) where we will walk around the gardens to see the spectacular ‘Pulhamite’ cliffs and grotto.

Mike Howgate




John Wong Field Trip

Sunday 25th June 2017: Geology of Barnet Borough part 8 of 12 –            Underhill, Ducks Island, East Barnet and Whetstone.

There will be an introductory talk on this local field trip before we actually go to see the evidence from the superficial deposits and clues to the underlying solid geology in these localities in Barnet borough.

The main topics of the trip are the advance of the Anglian land ice into Barnet borough during the Pleistocene and its aftermath – the pre-glacial topography, the pro-glacial geomorphology and sedimentology, the periglacial superficial deposits, the chronology of the diversions of the proto-tributaries of the ProtoThames and the remnants of the river terraces.

We will see ‘pulhamite’ rock structures and John will tell you about the most exclusive private lake in the borough where the surface geology will be a treasure trove for the enthusiastic geologist and you.  Charles Darwin’s bulldog is on the itinerary if there is time.



SATURDAY 3 June 2017: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’S WALK

FRIDAY 5 May 2017: ‘ 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.  




John Wong Field Trip

Sunday 23rd April 2017

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.                   




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

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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

PRECAMBRIAN VOLCANIC and PLUTONIC ROCK PETROLOGY and TRIASSIC ROCKS SEDIMENTOLOGY and STRATIGRAPHY at BARDON HILL WORKING QUARRY, BARDON, WEST LEICESTERSHIRE
– 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!!

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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.



MIKE’S WALK on behalf of the GA.

SATURDAY 15 APRIL 2017:  ‘THE GEOLOGY AROUND SOUTH MIMMS, HERTFORDSHIRE’

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 fieldmeetings@geologistsassociation.org.ok there will be an administration fee of £5.    

ONLY 7 PLACES REMAINING!                                                  Mike Howgate

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