Available courses

Simply Minerals! does what it says in the title - it gives you all the essential lowdown on all the major groups: rock forming minerals, metallic ores, gangue minerals and even evaporites. The course begins with the major elements found in the Earth’s crust - our cupboard of chemicals!

We don’t pretend that this is your complete guide to minerals, but it lays the foundations for further study and will help you to sort your calcite from your quartz, your barite from your fluorite! To help you with your practical hands on experience, the cost of this course includes a complimentary set of essential specimens covering all the major mineral types.

We have had an online fossil course on our books for several years now and most recently extracted those Units that dealt with specific fossil groups to run as a Zoom course. This left a total of four Units that dealt with large extinction events. We are now taking these and adding two brand new Units to present a 6-week Zoom course entitled ‘Mass Extinctions!’ For each of the extinction events, we’ll examine what happened and the likely reasons behind it. We’ll see what became extinct and what replaced those groups that did not make it. Along the way, we’ll encounter some amazing things, such as why modern day corals are unlikely to be related to ancient ones.

For the first time in our distance learning courses, we leave the shores of the British Isles and head off in search of interesting geology around the world. In some cases we aren’t far away, in the Channel Isles for instance, but in others we’re far way be it in China, the South Atlantic or New Zealand. Each has a fascinating geological story to tell and this course aims to bring those stories to you.

This course covers all the areas of the UK that are currently designated as UNESCO Geoparks, plus two other Geoparks that are outside that network. In short, some of the finest geology and landscapes of the British Isles.

How and where do we start out on our journey of discovery about planet Earth? To some it will begin with the materials, the rocks, minerals and fossils. To others it begins with the landscape; what we see around us as we walk, cycle or motor through the countryside. In this course we embrace both of these, but there’s an even more fundamental fact about Earth - deep time, 4,650 million years of it to be precise and that’s where we will begin.

Welcome to our programme of evening talks entitled ‘Wednesdays at 7’ covering the period December 2023 to March 2024. The sessions introduce you to a wide variety of topics ranging from some of the key people in the history of geology, through to one-off topics covering key aspects of our subject.

Each of the topics will be presented in a lively and entertaining style that feeds into the feeling of inclusivity and informality that are the hallmark of our work. Everyone is welcome to join us on the hour long live Zoom sessions that take place at 7pm, mainly on a Wednesday evening.


13 The rise and fall of a Lake District Wolfram Mine - Carrock Fell

20 The geology of the Island of Rum in the Inner Hebrides

27 Mapping England & Wales with William Smith

Greenland is one of those countries that almost everyone has heard of, but few know anything about it. To start with it doesn’t qualify as a country on many quiz shows. It’s not a country in its own right and doesn’t belong to the United Nations. It’s actually a territory owned by Denmark - even though the United States offered to buy it!

Around 80-90% of its surface area is pretty well permanently covered by ice, so most of our knowledge is limited to the coastal areas, particularly on the eastern side. It has a very long geological history with parts dating back to more than 4 Ga. Remarkably it has a tectonic history that mirrors that of Scotland, particularly that of the Northwest Highlands. Not surprising when you consider that it was joined to the same landmass until around 60 Ma, when the North Atlantic Ocean started to open.