The Geological History of Britain


A wide-ranging introduction to this fascinating subject for beginners.

Did you know we were once 60 degrees south of the Equator?

Almost everywhere in the British Isles has at some time been torn by earthquakes, scorched by volcanoes, scraped by ice, covered by seas or raised to high mountains. We will piece together the evidence for this dramatic story from the rocks, minerals and fossils found all over the country, using basic geological principles to unravel the sequence of events.

There will also be a chance to study many geological specimens, maps and books put out in the teaching room. Students are very welcome to bring along your own geological specimens which you would like to be identified or which you think are of special interest.

No previous background in geology is needed and no reading is required in advance.

This day school also being held on Saturday 7 October 2023.

Please note: this event will close to enrolments at 23:59 BST on 5 October 2023.

Programme details

Registration at Rewley House reception

Introduction: Unravelling history from rocks.
Basic geological principles. The oldest rocks in Britain.


Life south of the Equator: a disappearing ocean, volcanic islands, colliding continents, and massive mountains


Practical session (~30 mins) studying geological specimens and maps in the teaching room.
Tropical seas, swampy forests and baking deserts (~45 mins)


When dinosaurs reigned. The Chalk sea. The slow move northwards.
Climatic havoc, glaciers, and the future?

Day ends



Description Costs
Course Fee (includes tea/coffee) £99.00
Baguette lunch £6.50
Hot lunch (three courses) £17.60


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Peter Sheldon

Dr Sheldon is an Honorary Associate in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Open University, where he was a Senior Lecturer in Earth Sciences until 2015. He chaired the Open University course on Geology and contributed to many other OU courses. He has given over 80 courses in geology, palaeontology and evolution for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education since 1979 and over 40 day-schools for OUDCE at Rewley House since 1993.


Please use the 'Book' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.