New Geology Group

Published 25th June 2021

Are you interested in joining a Geology Group catering for beginners and those with more experience?

New u3a member Michelle Thomas writes …


I would like to start a new interest group: Geology. Anyone is welcome, whether you are a beginner or a professional or inbetween!

Initially I would like you to let me know how much you already know about geology, any areas of specific interest (if any), and any activities you would like to do.

My first thoughts are:

  • Basic geology course for beginners including rock identification.
  • Field trips outside to locations of geological interest; locally – Llandegley, Shakey Bridge, Elan Valley; further afield – Aberystwyth, Hergest Ridge, Brecon Beacons & Fforest Fawr Geopark, Rodney’s Pillar near Welshpool.
  • Talks either on Zoom or at a venue – Joe Botting has a good talk available on the Geology of Radnorshire for starters.
  • Museums and other places of interest – Radnorshire Museum, National Museum of Wales Cardiff geology section, Silver Mountain, Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Blaenavon Ironworks, coal mining experiences.
  • Building stones tours – various towns.

These are just thoughts. Please feel free to let me know yours!  As usual, any costs involved would be shared equitably by the group.

At the time of writing, we can have indoor meetings for upto 6 people and outdoor meetings of upto 30, observing Welsh Government restrictions, and English regs too if we cross the border. Car sharing is an option as long as face masks are worn. Zoom is ideal for planning meetings and talks.

I am an amateur geologist, but have lots of experience in organising geology field trips, lecture days and talks on Zoom. I have been the events organiser for the Open University Geological Society Severnside Branch for 2 years, with another 7 years for OUGS South-West Branch when I lived in Devon. I have also recently joined the Mid Wales Geology Club to view the meetings and talks on Zoom. MWGC is based in Newtown in normal times.

Having just reached the U3A age-group and eligibility, I would like to expand my current OUGS activities to include U3A members in this area.

I realise that Joe Botting already has a monthly Palaeontological Group in town, allied to the Radnorshire Museum. Joe and Lucy are lovely people who have outstanding knowledge about Ordovician fossils. These fossils are prolific in this area. I hope to ask them to lead a field trip or give a talk at some point. Perhaps they would let a small group look at fossils using their new photo-microscopic kit as well!

I am interested in geological morphology (ie landscape structure) and minerology (especially shiny sparkly things!). I have studied geology with the Open University but only to level 2. So I have some knowledge, but not enough to lead a field trip or give a talk. However having been active with OUGS Severnside for a few years, I have gained a small network of speakers and field trip leaders, including some folk at Cardiff University, the National Museum of Wales Cardiff, and the British Geological Survey Cardiff.

If anyone in the group has the knowledge to lead a field trip or give a talk, that would be marvellous!

I have a Zoom subscription, so meeting online is a very convenient option. My home in Tremont Park is not big, so I can seat 4-5 people comfortably but no more  and subject to prevailing government advice. If interest is big enough, we can decide to rent some space somewhere in town. The nearest place to me is Celf O Gwmpas.

I am available on Mondays and Thursdays to fit around work and my Welsh classes… yes, I am learning Welsh! Evenings and weekends are an option too.  Once we have met, we can decide on venue, which day and how often.

Here’s hoping to hear from you soon.
Michelle Thomas

To respond to Michelle, please email

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