Field Trips All about Mike + John’s geology ‘Walks,Talks & Field Trips’ for 2020

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……

Picture: kind permission of Adriana Cerdeira




Led by Mike Howgate or John Wong, please see below.


Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak, and following government advice, it has been decided that there will be no further field trips for the immediate future.   

Hopefully, any cancelled field trips will be re-scheduled for 2021, dates to be announced.

As soon as it is prudent and safe to re-schedule the walks and field trips, members will be notified.

An AGS visit led by John Wong FGS

Guided Tour of Emmer Green Chalk Mine, Emmer Green, Reading, RG4 8U 


The revised date will be announced.

Cost – £15 on the day to the 89th Reading Scout Group for the upkeep of the chalk mine and for providing a team of instructors for the mine visit.

Hard hats, harnesses and led torches will be provided on site for the duration of the visit and the tour is for approximately 2 hours.  The mine is entered by a belay system (a safety rope device) to explore the geology, the natural history and the almost 300 years of  Emmer Green local history.  Exit by climbing up the ladder with harness and rope inside the mine shaft.  The extensive abandoned subterranean chalk mine was discovered in 1977 during building works and has been there since the 1600’s when it played a part in brick making  during the early construction of the town.

The Emmer Green Chalk Mine can be viewed on the internet, Google it and have a look!

Please note that this chalk mine visit is not recommended for people who have heart problems or poor medical condition.

For full information and John Wongs contact details please see the latest newsletter.

Fri. 17 Apr. – ‘St. Katherine’s Dock’  –  £8.  Mike Howgate  Cancelled

Meeting at 11 am. at the exit of Tower Hill tube station.

Then walking via the Tower of London and under London Bridge to see the unusual ‘Sea Lock’ at the entrance to St.  Katherine’s Dock.  We will explore the dockside furnishings, warehouses, social housing and modern art then along the Thames-side path.

Fri. 1 May  –  ‘A trip to the Chemists (and another Dock)’ – £8   Mike Howgate  Cancelled

Meeting at 11am. at the exit of Tower Hill tube station

 A visit to the Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.  A superb little museum which tells the tale of all of the stuff you get prescribed by the quack from ancient times to the present day.  Then we will visit the site of London Docks ( formerly Rupert Murdoch’s ‘Fortress Wapping’ )  which is being rapidly redeveloped.

SATURDAY 9th MAY 2020   Leader:  Dr. Simon Kelly with Mike Howgate.  Cancelled

A joint field meeting for the Kirkaldy Society and the Amateur Geological Society.

The geology around Upware, Cambs.

We will be visiting Dimmock’s Cote quarry for fossil collecting and elucidating the stratigraphy of the Upware Limestone, then the ‘Five Miles from Anywhere’ pub for refreshments and finally a hole in a field for ‘coprolites??’ and a Jurassic/Cretaceous unconformity.  You can see a write up of a previous visit led by Simon by going to the Geologists’ Association website – publications – The GA Magazine – scroll down to vol. 15 no 1 – it is on pages 23-25. 

To book your place contact Mike Howgate on

Friday 14th May – South of the River ( 1 ) – £8   Mike Howgate  Cancelled

Meeting at 11am. at the exit of Tower Hill tube station.

Across Tower Bridge to visit City Hall canteen for coffee / tea / loo stop then a meander along the river front looking at some of the new developments as far as the Shard and Guy’s Hospital.

Friday 21st May – South of the River ( 2 ) – £8   Mike Howgate  Cancelled

Meeting at 11am. by the Cutty Sark

Exploring what remains of the industrial river front of the Thames from Greenwich pier to the Millennium Dome.  Then across the river on the Emirates Air Line cable car ( separate charge ).

Fri. 12 June  –  ‘Science in the City – part 1’ – £8   Mike Howgate  Cancelled

Meeting at 11am. outside St. Paul’s tube station by the cafes.

A circular walking tour picking out monuments, sites and plaques of scientific significance from Holborn Bridge to the Millennium Bridge.

Saturday 27 June 2020     Leader: Michael E. Howgate M.Sc. FLS Cancelled

A joint field excursion for the Amateur Geological Society and the Buckinghamshire Geology Group


This private hotel near Aylesbury hides behind walls decorated with Portlandian ammonites and Greensand ‘bowel stones’.  It was home to the exiled King of France after the French Revolution and later to an eccentric collector and astronomer who had his own observatory and museum in the House. 

Meeting from 10 am onwards in the library of Hartwell House where tea and coffee with biscuits will be served at 10.30 am.

( Park on the area to the right after going through the gateway, not in front of the house )

11.00 am.  Mike will give an introduction to Dr. John Lee FRS who had his Geological and Egyptological museum in the library and his astronomical observatory attached to it.  The Royal Meteorological Society was founded in the library in 1850.

11.30 am.  Guided tour of the grounds where we will see the Portlandian ammonites, Lower Greensand bowel-stones and Bradenham puddingstone blocks he used to ornament the walls and pathways. Then we will also go outside the grounds to visit the Egyptian well and the external walls.

We aim to finish by 1.30 pm

Lunch can be booked in the Spa café or taken at the ‘Bugle Horn’ pub.  

*  The cost will be £8 for members of either organisation and £10 for guests.  To book your place contact Mike Howgate on

Fri. 3 July  –  ‘Science in the City’  part 2  –  £8   Mike Howgate Cancelled

Meeting at 11am. above entrance 3 to Bank tube station.

A linear walk taking in a dinosaur footprint, the dark side of the moon and Fellows of the Royal Society.  Ending up near Tower Hill tube station

11 July and 25 July – THE SEALION HAS LANDED !   Mike Howgate Cancelled

Eighty years ago, on the 16th. of July 1940, Hitler issued ‘Fuhrer Directive 16’ to initiate the preparations for the invasion of the British Isles – Codenamed ‘Seelöwe’.  In the aftermath of the retreat from Dunkirk Britain was at her most vulnerable but within two months Hitler had postponed the invasion to the spring of 1941 and then indefinitely.   Was Britain defenceless with just Captain Mannering, Corporal Jones and Private Pike of the caricature Home Guard to defend hearth and home or were we ready for them?

I will lead two walks to investigate remaining defensive structures from this period and discuss the in depth preparations to meet and defeat the invader.

11 July – The GHQ line in Essex  ( £12 )   Mike Howgate Cancelled

Meet in the car park of ‘Chappel and Wakes Colne’ station ( CO6 2DS )

We will visit a complex of pillboxes, anti-tank obstacles and Spigot mortar pedestals along the valley of the river Colne at Chappel viaduct .  We will take lunch at the station café followed by a visit to the East Anglian Railway Museum.

25 July – Defending Potters Bar – a day out with the LDV.   ( £12 )   Mike Howgate Cancelled

Meeting at Cheshunt BR station ( EN8 9AQ )

We will examine hairpin anti-tank obstacles, pill-boxes and road blocks, a complex of Spigot Mortar defences around a wireless transmitter, including an almost complete Spigot Mortar pit and a Tet turret.

7th August – Bucks churches north of Aylesbury – £12 Mike Howgate  Cancelled

Meeting at 10.30 am. in  the ‘George & Dragon coffee shop’ on the village green at Quainton.

We will perambulate the village and visit the church in Quainton, where there is a ‘Swiss’ gravestone I am researching. Then on to Hardwick church and its ‘unique’ grave to soldiers who died in the English Civil War.  We will have lunch in the White Swan at Whitchurch before exploring the church.  We will end up at nearby North Marston, famous for its cure for gout.

28th August – Science in the City – 3 ( Geology around Piccadilly ) – £8   Mike Howgate


Meeting at 11 am outside Green Park tube station.

This will include a visit to the rooms of the Geological Society and the Linnean Society to see the famous William Smith and Greenough maps and the portraits of Darwin, Wallace and Linneus.

  To book places on the walks please send a cheque made out to MIKE HOWGATE and post to M.E. Howgate, 71 Hoppers Road, Winchmore Hill, London N21 3LP.  ALONG WITH A LIST OF THE WALKS YOU ARE BOOKING.

 My phone number is 0208 882 2606

Mobile number  (for emergencies & on trips)  07913391063

e-mail:  for further information about any of the walks and if you want to be on my ‘walks and talks’ mailshot.

John Wong Field Trip – 2020      Cancelled

‘Barnet Part 9 of 12’          For the revised date please await John’s announcement. For John’s contact details please see latest newsletter.

Meet at the western part of Cool Oak Lane NW9, next to a layby on the north side of the road and footpath entrance to the southern part of Silver Jubilee Park, TQ213875, at 10.30 a.m. You can park your car(s) in Kinloch Drive (at the western end of Cool Oak Lane then turn right). Please bring a packed lunch.


Past ‘Walks and Talks’  which you’ve missed unfortunately……..

Friday 14th of February 2020    An AGS visit led by Mike Howgate M.Sc. FLS


The Oxford University Museum of Natural History has put together the first ‘must see’ geological exhibition of this decade.  Most of you will be familiar with the ‘Burgess Shale’ fauna from the Cambrian of the Canadian Rockies with its poster fossil Hallucigenia sparsa.  Others may have been to the desecrated site in Charnwood Forest now denuded of the last remaining easily visible specimens of Charniodiscus from the late Pre-Cambrian.

But none of you will have seen similarly ancient specimens from the Sirius Passet site in Greenland or from Chengjiang in China.  Fifty-five superb specimens from the latter locality are on loan from Yunnan University and these will be displayed along with over 70 specimens from the OUM’s own collection. The exhibition also includes a dive into the Cambrian Sea in a virtual submersible to study this unique ecosystem populated by digital reconstructions of their enigmatic fauna.

The museum is open 10 am to 5 pm every day.

John Wong Museum Tour 

Wednesday 18 December 2019   14.00 to 16.00 (approximately)

AGS workshop ’Impact Craters of Africa’

A behind the scenes guided tour at the Natural History Museum, London, Angela Marmot Centre.

Impactites and Shock Metamorphism Mineral specimens.

Organised by John Wong FGS

Hosted by Dr Natasha Almeida and Austin Woodbridge.

‘Impact Craters of Africa’ was one of the double AGS workshops facilitated and presented by John Wong in the summer 2019 at a church hall in Winchmore Hill; John felt that a follow up behind the scene visit to the Natural History/Geology Museum, South Kensington, London, to see the impacted rock specimens that have not been on display to the general public would benefit the interested AGS members.

Meet at 1.45 p.m. at visitor desk in the Natural History/Geology Museum (via Exhibition Road entrance to the Geology Museum, not the Natural History Museum main entrance in Cromwell Road) where we will have to sign in.

The nearest underground station is South Kensington on the District Line.

For John Wong’s contact details please see the latest newsletter.

Saturday 26th October 2019 – Mike Howgate 

‘The Stones of Canary Wharf’ – a geological walk.

Meet at 2.30pm on platform 1 of Canary Wharf station of the Docklands Light Railway.

Sat 10 August  2019 – Mike Howgate


A self – driving car trip meeting at Marks Tey railway station at 10 am. ( please let me know if you need a lift from the station ) otherwise meet at Copford church at 10.30 am.

We will start at the remote Copford church ( O.S. TL 936227 ) with its magnificent Romanesque wall paintings, then it is on to an ecumenical Orthodox monastery down a remote lane in wonderfully named Tolleshunt Knights.   The monastery has an even more wonderful name, it is the ‘Holy Patriachal and Stavropegic Monastery of Saint John the Baptist’.  I have arranged with the abbot for tea on arrival followed by a guided tour. Then on to Tiptree for lunch at Wilkins jam factory with time to peruse their museum.

The afternoon will be spent looking for the remains of Zeppelin L33 downed at  Little Wigborough and evidence of the Colchester earthquake at a pub where we can take refreshments before departing.

Fri. 26 July 2019 – Mike Howgate


Meeting above exit 3 of Bank station at 11am.

Will the City of London loose out to Frankfurt post-Brexit?  Do you remember all of the predictions that we would all become our own on-line stockbrokers after Big Bang and city slickers would become redundant?  They didn’t and now there are even more of them, but will they all have moved to Frankfurt by 2021?  We will look at how interconnected the City is in terms of banking, insurance, commodity broking and shipping and how all this came together over centuries without a major crash since the South Sea Bubble.

Sunday 7th July 2109 – Mike Howgate


Self-driving car trip meeting at Audley End station at 10.00 am or at the Bell Inn at 10.30.  Note; Audley End station and the Bell Inn are in the village of Wendens Ambo.

 We will park up at the Bell Inn and walk to the RIGS wall on Royston Road to try and identify the building stone with the aid of Ian Mercer’s ‘Walls and Churches Survey’ sheet.  Then on to the village church at the end of ‘picture book’ Church Street.  Back to the Bell Inn for coffee before setting off to find ‘The Holy Stone of Arkesden’ ,which I have written up for the ‘Village News’, and the Hertfordshire Puddingstone  War Memorial in the nearby churchyard.  Then it will be back to the Bell Inn for lunch.

After lunch we will head for Ashdon, where the village museum houses an exhibition about the famous??? Essex meteorite which landed 30 yards from a farm labourer in 1923.  We will try and locate the exact fall site of the meteorite for a once in a lifetime photo-opportunity before heading for the Romano-British tumuli at Bartlow Hill just across the Essex border in Cambridgeshire.

Sat. 22 June 2019  


Self-driving car trip meeting at Baldock Services café just off the A1 (M) where it becomes the A1. (Lifts can be arranged picking up from Baldock station )

We will look at church building stones on a south to north transect across South Bedfordshire. Starting at Shillington church on a Chalk outlier hilltop and with a unique crypt we move on to Langford church before lunch at Jordan’s Mill where the cereal bars and Ryvita are manufactured and where we can look at the old watermill.  After lunch we will visit Old Warden church with its fantastic wooden snake and Northill church for its Grocer’s Company windows and fire-buckets. We will finish at Cardington where the church has monuments to the Whitbread brewing family and the nearby graveyard houses the R101 memorial.  If I can arrange it we will also visit the huge airship hangers which housed the R100 and R101.

Fri. 7 June 2019 


Meeting outside the rear entrance of the British Museum in Montague Place at 11 am.  The nearest tube is Russell Square.

The science of epidemiology, which studies how diseases are spread, dates back to the pioneering work of Dr. John Snow on the cholera outbreaks which devastated Soho in the 1850’s. We will start at the Institute of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine where we will see several of the ‘vectors’ which spread disease.  We will then walk to Soho and visit sites associated with Dr. Snow’s uncovering of how cholera was spread.  We will finish at the John Snow pub where he famously removed the handle of the local water pump.


Orford and Dunwich – Mike Howgate

A field excursion for the Kirkaldy Society and the Amateur Geological Society.

The weekend of 8 / 9 of June 2019 Leader: Bob Markham

Saturday 8th. of June: We will visit Coralline Crag at a local farm and a Red Crag pit near to the Butley Creek (great wildlife). We will also have a building stones walk (including the Castle) around Orford.

Sunday 9th. of June: We will investigate coastal changes along the Suffolk coast concentrating on the‘lost city’ of Dunwich. We shall also see Norwich Crag sands and gravel.

For further details and to book a place contact Mike Howgate at

GeoWeek 2019

Sunday 5th of May 2019 – Mike Howgate


Follow O.S. grid references and rhyming clues as you cross the county of Hertfordshire searching for its geological highlights.  Starting from the Standon stone at 10 am, we will finish for tea and cakes and the answers in the village of Ashwell.

Teams from Geological Societies, Families or just groups of friends are invited.

COST: £10 per car with up to four participants.

Please make cheques payable to ‘Hertfordshire Geological Society’.

Send to: Mike Howgate, 71 Hoppers Road, Winchmore Hill, London, N21 3LP.  Please also send a list of the participants and a name for your team!


For further information contact:

Plus Standon stone 052.jpg

The Standon Stone, the starting point for the Treasure Hunt.

Fri. 26th April  2019

MEET THE HIPSTERS – £8 – Mike Howgate

Meet outside Mile End tube station at 2 pm.

If you missed out on the Hippies, Mods, Goths and Punks then do not miss out on the trendy Hackney Hipsters. You too can be part of the Dotcom, barista served Guatemalan Co-Op coffee, revolution.  Starting from Mile End we will follow the Regents Canal to ‘Yummy Mummy’ Victoria Park then to ‘Hipster Central’ Broadway Market before finishing up at Viktor Wynd’s absinthe parlour and Cabinet of Curiosities at ‘The Last Tuesday Society’.  I am of course a member! ( Admission to the ‘Cabinet’ is £6, sampling the absinthe is at your own risk ).

Fri. 12 April 2109

THE EMBANKMENT – £8 – Mike Howgate

Meet at Embankment tube station (Thames-side exit) at 11 am.

After meeting we will find the new ‘William Smith’ plaque near the old Water Gate which marks the former shoreline of the Thames.  We will then look at the range of Victorian worthies commemorated in the linear park covering Joseph Bazalgette’s interceptor sewer and we will also see a still active ‘Sewer Gas’ lamp.  We will finish at 2 Temple Place where there is a free exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of John Ruskin and cherubs demonstrating early telephones.

Fri. 29 March 2019


Meet by the information desk in the museum at  11 am. Please allow time to get through the security search where there are often queues.  Nearest tube stations are Holborn and Tottenham Court Road.

We will search out my favourite highlights from several localities we have visited on walks in London, Hertfordshire and Kent.  Starting in the Enlightenment gallery to find a disguised Mithraic statue and see some of the original fossils donated by the museum’s founder.  We will then look at the Ashwell and Barkway hoards, the unique Tring tiles featuring the childhood miracles of Christ, a Puddingstone Pharaohs’ head, the Lullingstone Roman villa paintings and Verulamium Roman mosaics; finishing with one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Mon. 11 March 2019  


A talk for the Harrow Natural History Society in the Blackwell Hall ( next to All Saints church ), Uxbridge Road, HA3 6DQ at 8 pm.

Tues. 12 March 2019


A talk for the Amateur Geological Society in the Finchley Baptist Hall, East End Road, Finchley N3 3QL at 8 pm.

Talk and Workshop – Date: Sunday 3rd February 2019

Presented by John Wong

‘In search of the remnants of the Proterozoic supercontinent Rodinia in the geological cradle of the Asia landmass – Suspect terranes, multiphase tectonic geology and superimpose geomorphology’.  Presented by John Wong

This is a combined indoor talk and workshop on the geology and tectonic of the Proterozoic supercontinent Rodinia, in particular the talk involves the geology of suspected terraces, Greenstone Belt, tectonic sutures, ophiolites and melanges. The workshop session use 2-D aerial photographs and zoomed in satellite imagery to identify the remnants of  Rodinia in the present day central Asia around south-eastern Kazakhstan, eastern Kyrgystan, and north-western China.

This event is free of charge to AGS members.

Sunday 18th November 2018  10am – 12 midday.

Trent Country Park

Talk & Workshop on Wudalianchi Volcanic Field: Analysis of Aerial Photographs and Satellite Imageries.  Presented by John Wong.

Wudalianchi is one of the youngest volcanic fields on the mainland of East Asia, covering an area of 500 km² , the area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Location.  It is located in Songliao Graben in Northeast China at the axis of the Eastern Asian continental rift system (similar to the larger East African Rift).  The rift was formed by an upwelling mantle plume.

John will give an introduction to the location of tectonic plate boundaries in Northeast Asia, the surface geology of the Wudalianchi volcanic field and the 14 volcanoes, with the aid of 2D aerial photographs and space imageries.  We will discuss the characteristics and the geological components of the lava flows and their by-products, as well as the weathered and the well preserved volcano cones of different shapes and sizes.

This event is free of charge to AGS members.

Hertford Part 2 Field Meeting

Sunday 23rd September 2018     11am  to  5pm.

Led by John Wong

Norman church with 13th century wall paintings; Victorian church built of Triassic Runcorn Red Sandstone from quarries in Cheshire;  town walk part 2; disused glacial gravel pit (with Bunter pebbles); lunch at Foxholes Farm cafe.


Led by John Wong

Geology, geomorphology, hydrology, churches, and geoarchaeology of the villages and Iron Age period hill forts in the Parish of Cholesbury-cum-St Leonards and in Wendover Woods, and Catuvellaunian Grim’s Ditch ancient scheduled monument, Buckinghamshire. Led by John Wong

We shall see and/or discuss the following on this field trip –

The history of the Full Moon public house and the Cholesbury Windmill.

The local stratigraphy, structural geology, geomorphology, hydrology, drainage patterns, chalk springs and ponds.

The local commemorative monument built of Buckinghamshire Puddingstones, and the petrology of local boundary stone.

The geology of Hawridge, Cholesbury, Buckland Common, St Leonards and Wendover Woods.  Stratigraphy in Wendover Woods reveals a full section of the Grey Chalk (former Lower Chalk) and White Chalk (former Middle Chalk and former Upper Chalk combined) Subgroups, the Melbourn Rock and Chalk Rock Formations.

The origin, sedimentary structures and provenance of Holocene Red Clay and pebbly-clay in a disused pit, Pleistocene Clay-with-Flint in a disused pit and the archaeology of scattered strike flints.

The geoarchaeology of the Iron Age Cholesbury Camp Hill Fort in Cholesbury and Boddington Hill Fort in Wendover Woods.

The history and building stones (original and reused stones) of the 12th century and 14th century churches in Hawridge, Cholesbury and St Leonards.

Geology and geoarchaeology of the 18km (10.8 miles) long Catuvellaunian Grim’s Ditch Scheduled Ancient Monument, spanning from Bradenham to Berkhamsted; we shall see a couple of the selected surviving accessible sections.

How the High Speed 2 Rail-link project is in conflict with the Grim’s Ditch Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Saturday 21 July:

Classic Essex Churches (2) with a possible pick up point at Ingatestone station at 10 am. Otherwise meeting at the Tiptree tea shop in Writtle ( on the ‘University’ campus at O.S. ref. TL 678068 ) at 10.30 am. Then visiting the round towered church at Broomfield and Great Waltham church. We will have lunch back at the Tiptree tea shop and then visit the churches of Great and Little Leas. Cost £12. (own or shared cars).

 To book please send a cheque made out to MIKE HOWGATE to M.E. Howgate, 71 Hoppers Road, Winchmore Hill, London N21 3LP. ALONG WITH A LIST OF THE WALKS YOU ARE BOOKING.


 North London Mineral, Gem and Fossil Show: Saturday 24 November (10.00 am – 4.00 pm) NOTE NEW VENUE. Trinity Church, Nether Street, N12 which is near Tally Ho Corner. Adm. £2.

 My phone number 0208 882 2606

Mobile number (for emergencies & on trips) 07913391063

e-mail: if you want to be on my ‘walks and talks’ mail-shot.

A series of walks looking at the courses of three ‘LOST RIVERS’ Cost: £20 for the three or you can pay individually. ALL STARTING AT 2 pm.

1)  Friday 22 June: The Lost Rivers of London (1) – The Walbrook. Meeting outside the Broadgate exit of Liverpool St. station by the ‘Fulcrum’ sculpture. Ending near Cannon St. station. Cost £8.

2)  Friday 29 June: The Lost Rivers of London (2) – The Fleet. Meeting outside the main entrance of Farringdon Station on Cowcross St. Ending at Blackfriars station. Cost £8.

3)  Friday 6 July: The Lost Rivers of London (3) – The Tyburn. Meeting at Bond Street tube station exit barriers. Ending at Green Park tube station. Cost £8 .

 Friday 13 July: Gods and Goddesses of Londinium. This will include a visit to the newly opened Bloomberg HQ where the Temple of Mithras is back on the site where it was excavated in the mid-1950s. 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 Bacchus. Meeting at the Refectory at Southwark cathedral at 2 pm. ( Nearest station: London Bridge ) COST: £10.

Thursday 14 June 2018: Stones of the City (2) Meeting at Liverpool St. station, Broadgate exit. By the ‘Fulcrum’ sculpture. At 11 am. We will see lots of Travertine and a variety of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including spectacular zoned feldspars. Ending up at Moorgate or Bank station. Cost £8. ( bring a hand lens !)

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th June 2018.  A joint field excursion with the Kirkaldy Society and Geo-Suffolk to the Ipswich Museum and the Suffolk Crags led by Bob Markham.

Saturday 16th June: 11.00am. – meet at the Ipswich Museum for a gallery tour and a private view of geological highlights of the collection.

1.00pm – 3.00pm Lunch and time to deposit luggage at your hotel.

3.30pm – 5.30pmBuilding stones walk around Ipswich.

7.30pm onwards – evening meal.

Sunday 17th June: Full day field excursion (own or shared cars) visiting localities in the Red and Coralline Crag and the replanted ‘Pliocene’ forest.

Sunday 3rd. June 2018 – DINOSAUR DAY SCHOOL     

Doors open 10.00 am. Start 10.30 am. Finish 4.30 pm.

Bertrand Russell Room, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Nearest tube Holborn

Cost: including tea and coffee £20.

AM.  Mike Howgate on One-eyed sheep and epigenetic landscapes the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ of the MANIRAPTORANS. Followed by discussion and open session.

Dinosaur of the Day – Psittacosaurus.

PM.  Stephan Bodini on Stephen Jay Gould and ‘Replaying the tape of Life’ – an insight of profound significance or unwitting succour to Creationists.

Vertebrate evolution in the Permo-Triassic – an aerial explosion!

Sat. 12th May 2018: The GEOLOGY of NORTH MIMMS PARK and the WATER END SSSI.

Meeting at the car park of St. Mary’s Church, North Mimms, Herts. at 10.30 am.  Leader Mike Howgate.

A look at the Church building stones followed by a guided walk of three miles through the countryside between North and South Mimms.  Lunch at the Woodman pub then a shorter walk to see the swallow holes of Water End and the Glacial Gravels of the area.

 Friday 18 May: Science in the City. We will see 400 million year old fossils, living fossils, Xenoliths, the site of a 17th. Century telescope, sundials, Victorian inventions and a monument to science and discovery.

Meeting in the Crypt café of St. Paul’s Cathedral at       2 pm. Cost £8.

 Saturday 26 May:   Classic Essex Churches (1) with a possible pick up point at Epping tube station at 10 am. Otherwise meeting at Greenstead-juxta-Ongar ( O.S. ref. TL 539030 ) for the famous Anglo Saxon log church at 10.30 am. , then on to visit the churches at Chipping Ongar and High Ongar. We will have lunch at Blackmore tea shop and visit the village church with its intricate timber tower then on to Willingale which has two churches in the same churchyard. Cost £12. (own or shared cars).

 Thursday 31 May: Stones of the City of London (1). Meeting in the crypt café at St. Pauls Cathedral at 11am.   From Cornish and Cumbrian Granites to Portland Roach Stone (with its Portland Screws and Osses Ed’s) and desert sandstones, there is a huge variety of building stones around St. Pauls.  But there is a lot more to see, from Silurian nautiloids and Carboniferous productids to a Sumerian inscribed brick! The walk will end near the Guildhall. Bring a hand lens or magnifying glass. Cost £8.

 THURSDAY 5 April 2018: ‘Curiosities of the City of London – West’  From the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and the Mansion house, looking at water pumps, plaques, coffee shops, geese, mice, the Great Fire of London and a Dinosaur footprint.

Meeting above exit 3 of Bank tube station at 11 am. COST £8.

Friday 23rd March 2018: GEOLOGY in CAMBRIDGE MUSEUMS.

Meeting at the Sedgwick Museum at 11.00am – Leader Mike Howgate M.Sc. FLS.

A guided tour of the Sedgwick Museum followed by lunch in Cambridge.  This will be followed by a visit to the ‘Landscapes Below, mapping and the new science of Geology’ exhibition at the Cambridge University Library.  We plan to finish at 4.00pm. 

Friday 20 October 2017: 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  

Friday 6 October 2017: ‘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.


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.


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


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


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


  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.



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