Geology Sources & Courses

This page is for the benefit of members to find material for presentations, videos and geological walks. ALL members are encouraged to offer a contribution, regardless of their level of expertise. Bear in mind that some of the material is designed for schoolchildren but may still be a useful source. Contributions do not have to fill a whole session – just 10 or 15 minutes is fine , but please let the co-ordinator know roughly how long it will take so that several short presentations can be combined for one meeting. Why not use the links below to develop a presentation or organise a geology walk or visit for the Group?

Content links

It is also for those who would like to get involved but feel that they need a basic introduction first. Our U3A Group does not offer any formal teaching – we learn from each other. However if you would like some basic knowledge, there are a number of possible courses that you might be interested in.

  • The Open University offers a free introduction to geology.
  • Geosupplies offers online courses across a wide range of geological topics, as well as more practical day courses (usually in Sheffield)
  • Finally you can dip into the selection of online material listed below

Sources for Geology Talks & Videos

Earth Learning Idea (a wealth of material for schools) includes…

Investigating the Earth (covers Fieldwork, Landforms, Geophysics, Magnetism, Mapwork and Oceanography)

Teaching Videos and Workshops for Ages 11-18

Mining and the Green Revolution for Ages 14-18

ELI Virtual Rock Kit

Content by Keyword

Geologists’ Association (GA)

GEOCOAST – Using Geological Compass: Measuring Strike, Dip & Dip Direction

How To Describe Rocks In The Field

Rock and Mineral Identification

British Geological Survey produces a variety of geological maps and other learning resources

Its OpenGeoscience portal now gives free access to a variety of data, including free geological maps of anywhere in the UK (Note that this is now available as a free app for smartphones – just search for BGS Geology Viewer), photographs, articles (sections on climate change, rocks & minerals, geological processes, fossils and geological time, earth hazards and free maps and educational resources)

BBC i-Player

BBC i-Player offers a number of programmes about geology from time to time.

Chris Packham’s series “Earth” (3 episodes) or search on the site

Geology Walks


NB – Some of these books are quite old but can be borrowed beforehand by anyone willing to lead a walk

“Rocky Rambles in the Peak District”, by Fred Broadhurst, ISBN 1-85058-750-7, Publ. Sigma Leisure

18 walks of varying lengths with sketch maps and geological interpretation

“Classic Landforms of the White Peak”, by Roger Dalton, Howard Fox & Peter Jones, ISBN 1-899095-60-2, Publ. Geological Association

Describes various important limestone areas, what to see and how to access the sites.

“Rocks & Scenery in the Peak District”, by Trevor D. Ford, ISBN 1-84306-026-4, Landmark Publishing

Written by probably the acknowledged expert on the area, but aimed at the layman. Covers all the local geological features, rocks and where to find them.

“The Geology of the East Midlands” by Albert Horton & Peter Gutteridge, ISBN 0-900717-89-0, Publ. Geological Association

Obviously covers all the counties of the East Midlands rather than just Derbyshire but does include quite a number of routes in our area.

The GA Cuides for the East Midlands provide full details on numerous geological walks in the Peak District and the wider East Midlands. Follow the page down to “5. East Midlands“. The most relevant ones are:

  • GA Guide No. 26 The Peak District, 1999
    F. Wolverson Cope (12 walks)
  • GA Guide No. 56 The Castleton Area, Derbyshire 1996
    Trevor Ford (3 walks)
  • GA Guide No. 63 The Geology of the East Midlands, 2003
    Compiled by Albert Horton & Peter Gutteridge (11 walks)

All of these walks above are accessible for a day visit from Matlock

(where to buy the GA Guides)


In addition, David H. has a collection of local geological walks, with maps and descriptions available to anyone who is willing to lead a group walk.


The Peak District Geowalk A guide to the rocks and landforms on a long distance walk, by Albert Benghiat & Martin Whiteley.

An excellent website that gives details of a long distance walk that circles the Peak District. It is split into 14 sections that can be tackled individually. It gives maps, photos, travel and route directions & geological interpretation for each walk.

The Hamps & Manifold Geotrail – download the trail leaflet

Churnet Valley Geotrail – download the trail leaflet

Cannock Chase Geotrail – download the trail leaflet

Other Indoor Sites for Possible Visits

Peak District Mining Museum & Temple Mine

Devoted to the history of lead mining in this area

Buxton Museum

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is temporarily closed whilst structural investigations are undertaken throughout the building. When it re-opens, it has a very good geological section.

Yorkshire Natural History Museum (Sheffield)

Has a good fossil collection.

Manchester Museum (Earth Sciences)

The collection of Manchester Geological Society started in 1838.

Wren’s Nest Nature Reserve

A reserve of national importance

Dudley Museum at the Archives

Home of the Black Country Geopark with an extensive geology collection, especially of the “Dudley Bug” (trilobites”)

The Lapworth Museum of Geology – University of Birmingham

Probably one of the best geology museums in the country.

Sedgwick Museum of Earth Science – Cambridge

TheSedgwick Museum has an extensive collection of rocks, minerals and fossils dating back to the 17th century.

Geology News

Geosupplies (based in Sheffield) produce an excellent quarterly geology magazine called “Down To Earth” which includes up-to-the minute geological news, events and articles. You can subscribe to get your own printed edition. For £2 per year you can join our U3A Geology group subscription to receive an online copy. In addition, there is a free online supplement called “Down to Earth Extra”. Geosupplies also sell a range of geological books, maps, equipment & specimens, and run online courses, day schools, day trips and residential geological trips all over the world. Full details can be found on their website.