Old Dy’vorians Association Lecture at the UWTSD Dynevor Campus on 20th October at 7-00 pm …

Distinguished TV scientist to deliver annual lecture in Swansea

Distinguished scientist, award-winning author and TV presenter Professor Richard Fortey FRS FRSL, will deliver the annual Old Dy’vorians Association Lecture at the UWTSD Dynevor Campus on 20th October at 7-00 pm.  Professor Fortey1 will be speaking about his new book, The Wood for the Trees2, published earlier this year.

Professor Fortey said:

“I had dreamed of having my own piece of woodland for many years, but somehow there was never enough cash in the bank. In 2011, thanks to fronting a BBC4 television series based upon one of my books, I was suddenly solvent enough to turn that dream into reality.  We purchased a small patch of classical beech and bluebell ancient woodland in the Chiltern Hills.

“I soon realised that to understand the natural history of the woodland we had to explore its human history. Far from being “wildwood” it had been managed by the same estate for nearly a millennium. The wood became a research project, and this talk summarises some of our discoveries: everything from geology to a ghost story.

“Now I have a clearer view of what makes “nature” in our small island. I have learned to see the wood for the trees.

Professor Fortey was Keeper of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum, London and President of the Geological Society of London during its bicentenary in 2007.  In 1993, his first trade book, The Hidden Landscape, was named the Natural World Book of the Year.  He won the Lewis Thomas Prize for science writing (2003) and in 2006 won the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Prize for public communication of science.

His eight major popular science books also include, Life: An Unauthorised Biography (1998), shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize, and (2001), Trilobite!: Eyewitness to Evolution, shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the UK’s most prestigious non-fiction award.  In 2005 Earth: an Intimate History was shortlisted for the Royal Society’s Aventis prize for science books. Life: an Unauthorised Biography was listed as one of ten ‘Books of the Year’ by the New York Times.  He has also written humorous books (sometimes anonymously) and comic verses about dinosaurs for children.

His many television appearances include: in 2012, the BBC 4 series Survivors: Nature’s Indestructible Creatures, which took a global look at modern-day species whose ancestors survived mass extinction events in the Earth’s history.  In 2013 he presented the BBC 4 programme The Secret Life of Rock Pools.  In 2014, he presented the BBC 4 three-part series Fossil Wonderlands: Nature’s Hidden Treasures, when he travelled to fossil sites to learn more about the distant past.  That year he also presented The Magic of Mushrooms, in which he showed that fungi (another major enthusiasm) had close but still poorly understood inter-relationships with plants and animals.  Earlier this year he presented the three-part series Nature’s Wonderlands: Islands of Evolution on BBC 2.


Lecture: ‘The Wood for the Trees’

Speaker: Professor Richard Fortey FRS FRSL

Venue: Dynevor Campus, University of Wales Trinity St David’s, De la Beche Street, Swansea.

Date: Thursday, 20th October.

Time: 6-00 pm (Complimentary refreshments in the Dynevor Cafe) for 7-00 pm (Start of Lecture in the Samuel Roberts Lecture Theatre).

Tickets:  The lecture is FREE.  No ticket required.


Mr Phill Davies (Secretary, ODA) Tel: 01792 883978   E: phillipdavies47@btinternet.com.

Dr Ted Nield (President, ODA) T: 07815 146676.  E: geoscribe@yahoo.co.uk.


  1. A print-quality photo of Professor Fortey is available on request from nield@geolsoc.org.uk or geoscribe@yahoo.co.uk.
  2. The Wood for the Trees: The Long View of Nature from a Small Wood, by Richard Fortey. Published by William Collins (2016, ISBN 978-0-00-810466-5).

Gower Archaeology Day , 12 November …


2016 is the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the fist AONB in the UK.

To mark and celebrate this event the Gower Society and the Gower Landscape Partnership have organised a Gower Archaeology Day when archaeologists, historians and landscape managers will trace the story of Gower’s past from the Stone Age cave dwellers to 18th century Swansea, reveal how new knowledge is gained and, with this improved understanding, how we are all better able to manage and protect Gower’s rich heritage – our legacy!


The event is from 9am to  5pm on Saturday 12 November at The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. For further details here.

Swansea Copper Folk on the Copper Jack, 16 October …

Andrew McKay & Carole Etherton invite you to come and join us on our next song and music trip aboard Copper Jack on Sunday 16th October 2016.  All aboard by 3.45pm for 4pm sailing.  Bring your voices and instruments to make music as we cruise on the River Tawe for an hour and a half and then have more music until 6.30 while moored in Swansea Marina outside the National Waterfront Museum.

Cost is £5 per person.  Places are limited so please book early.

To find out more details and make a booking please visit our website: http://copperfolk.wixsite.com/copperfolk

RISW/HA History Day, Saturday 24 September …

The Royal Institution of South Wales is collaborating with the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association for the second year to present History Day.

The free all-day event is open to the public and will take place at Swansea Museum (morning and lunchtime) and the National Waterfront Museum (afternoon)

Swansea Museum

10.10:    Gerald Gabb: Launch of the Swansea History Journal (Minerva)

10.30:    Richard Daugherty: Swansea’s Turnpike Roads

11.30:    Jeff Childs: The Parish Churches of the Lordship of Gower

12.40–13.20: Lunchtime seminar: ‘We can find ways of keeping Swansea Museum open and active’

Waterfront Museum

14.15:    John Ashley: Swansea Aviation Pioneers

15.15:    Gerald Gabb: A stroll through Swansea’s streets, as once they were


John Ashley

Hafod-Morfa litter pick, 16 July …

Friends of Hafod Morfa are planning a litter pick and weeding session at the Hafod Morfa site from 9:30 – 12:30 this Saturday 16 July.

You might like to come for the whole thing, call in later, or head off earlier, according to your schedules but you’d be made very welcome. Bring your gardening gloves and gardening tools of choice – the Friends will bring the litter picking gear from Keep Wales Tidy. Look forwards to seeing as many of you as can make it.


Art at the Hafod online exhibition …

‘Art @ the Hafod:  the Spirit of Place’ took place at the historic Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, which was one of the primary centres of industry in South Wales and integral to community life in the Lower Swansea Valley.  Participants of all ages had a unique chance to respond to this site of rich heritage through observational drawings and painting as part of the event.  Over the course of the day each visitor created some investigative drawings from points of interest. At various times, the group explored the findings, discussed the drawings and what might make a final piece.  With guidance from artist, Dan Llywelyn Hall, members of the group had the opportunity to develop their observational skills and gain confidence with drawing and painting.


Reference and Local Studies book sale, Central Library, 18/19 June …

There will be a Reference and Local Studies book sale on Saturday and Sunday, 18 & 19 June, 10.30 am – 3.30 pm, in the Discovery Room on the first floor of Central Library.
The Local Studies stock is ex-lending material (not part of our important antiquarian Local Studies Collections) relating to Swansea and Gower in the main, but with some books of a broader Welsh interest.
The ex-Reference books cover everything from stamp guides to encyclopaedias and there will also be some general, ex-lending non-fiction books on history, family history and transport (good for railway enthusiasts!) etc.