Cam, Dursley & District


The Branch

The Cam, Dursley and District branch hold regular, general interest monthly meetings at Dursley Methodist Church on the third Thursday starting at 10.30 a.m. We usually host an invited speaker , preceded by a little bit of business, and followed by tea and biscuits and socialising.

The groups

Then of course there are the special interest group meetings. You can find more details about where, what, when and how much by clicking the relevant group on the "Groups" page.

Plus we occasionally organise one-off activities or outings which all members are welcome to join.

Brief details of all forthcoming general branch meetings and group activities are listed below.

Dates for your Diary
February 2020
Tue Feb 18thMembers on their own (MOTO)MOTO Miscellany

There have been a number of ideas for indoor winter meetings, including quizzes, outside speakers, board games, listening to CDs, and talks from members of other groups.

SO, at 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday 18th February we will be having a 'MOTO Miscellany' which will include at least some of the above, plus anything else you might like to offer. I have booked a meeting room at the Methodist Church, Dursley, and have several short talks promised, a couple of quizzes and an interesting and unusual CD.

There will be a small charge to cover room hire and refreshments.

Please let me know as soon as possible whether or not you can come, and if so, if you can make a contribution to the afternoon. Perhaps you have an interesting hobby or collection of something that you could 'bring and show'? Maybe you can give a short talk on an interesting holiday or event in your life? Maybe you want to tell us about a great book you have read, or even an interesting television programme you have seen? ANYTHING considered!

If you are able to contribute, please give me a rough estimate of how long you would want for your 'spot'. Anything from five minutes upwards, but I would suggest that anything over thirty minutes would just be greedy!

It will also be a good opportunity to discuss any ideas you have for future events.

Hope to see you there,

Thu Feb 20thMeetingMonthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Paul Barnett - The Severn Bridge Disaster
Mon Feb 24thFamily History

Meeting in Dursley Methodist Church back room at 2.30pm.

Please bring £2 to cover room hire and refreshments.

There will be a talk 'Written in Stone', by Kath Hudson about recording memorial inscriptions at St Cyr's in Stinchcombe. It covers:

  • how we went about the project: the recording process.
  • details of some of the most interesting monuments, including several "lost" stones we uncovered; and
  • stories that emerged about some of the people buried at St Cyr's.

There will also be a small exhibition. The display includes the churchyard plan we worked from, some of the tools we used, our spreadsheets, reference books and a list of useful websites.

Thu Feb 27thScience & EngineeringVisit to the Rolls Royce Heritage Centre, Bristol, BS34 6QA.

This will be a guided visit with the chance to learn about the heritage of a major local aero engine company. The Heritage Trust is run by volunteers and maintains the aero engineering heritage of Rolls-Royce and its local predecessors. Over 50 engines are on show from the Bristol Jupiter of 1920, Cherub and Lucifer through the Mercury, Hercules and Proteus to Concorde's Olympus, the Harrier's Pegasus and the RB199. The workshop team work on restoration tasks.

The trip is limited to 16. This will be a car share trip, so if you are prepared to give a lift, or require one, please advise when booking. The visit starts at 10.15 at the No 1 gate entrance, then there will be a 10 minute walk to the exhibition. Visits last around one and a half to two hours. There is no charge for the visit but a donation of £5 is recommended and would be appreciated.

The exhibition is on a secure site and because of this there are security conditions attached to the visit:-
All visitors must have photo ID;
Photography is only allowed within the exhibition building;
Visitors names and vehicle details have to be notified in advance.

Please can I have requests to join by 15th February to give time to organise transport and fulfill the security requirements.

Please note that this visit is fully booked. To be added to the reserve list please contact John Hobson via the Blue Bird.
March 2020
Fri Mar 6thHistoric PlacesCardiff Castle with tour. Entry at group rate £10, tour £2.50 Coach £10.Also a boat trip around the bay @£5 Coach leaves 9am Dursley, 9.10am Jubilee tree and 9.25am Wotton Memorial. You can do the castle without the boat if required
Tue Mar 10thGardening GroupHome Farm Huntley.
( This is fully booked, unless you want to come by car )
Thu Mar 12thChurch ExplorersBristol St Mary Redcliffe
Our first visit this year has been organised by David Hinder, an organ concert followed by organ 'tour' and refreshments. The organ is widely considered to be one of the finest of its kind. It has 71 speaking stops and 4,500 pipes. The church itself is also highly regarded, with fine acoustics.
Cost of tour and refreshments, £5 per head, limited to twenty members
1.15 p.m. Organ concert by Andrew Kirk (Director of Music at St. Mary's) and Alison Howell (freelance organist). The concert itself is open to the public at no charge, although voluntary contributions are appreciated.
2 p.m. Church Explorers Organ 'tour' by Andrew Kirk. Talk and demonstration.
3 p.m. approx. Refreshments
Coffee and tea is also available before the concert in return for a small donation.
Mon Mar 16thScience & EngineeringVolunteering at the Dursley Sculpture Trail
Vale Vision are organising volunteers to assist refurbish / repair / install new items at the Sculpture trail at Twinberrow Wood, just off the Golf Course Road in the afternoon of the 3rd Monday every month.

People helping could sign up to any of the sessions. No need to be there each session as we would complete the mini-projects within the time available at each session. We need people who are able to assist with the construction of methods to fix / repair the sculptures so general DIY skills I would say. We can supply tools and materials or people can bring their own.

Easy parking is available on both sides of the road at the entrance to the Trail. If you are willing to help, please contact the working party leader - Mike Doughty of Vale Vision via the blue bird for each session.
Thu Mar 19thMeetingMonthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Catrin Viveash, Events Organiser for National Star
Sat Mar 21stMembers on their own (MOTO)Indian Dance performance, Saturday 21st March, 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Southam Village Hall, (near Cheltenham) GL52 3NS

'An evening of Indian dance from students & teachers of the Nethra Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), preceded by a short talk by the Holst museum's own Angela Applegate on Holst and his fascination with India.  This promises to be a really lively and colourful evening.'

I have purchased eight tickets for this event, to be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis. Please let me know as soon as possible if you wish to come. Total cost per ticket, £13.31 including booking fee. I will arrange payment later.

If there is sufficient demand and another member is prepared to drive, I can buy more tickets.
Mon Mar 23rdFamily HistoryMeeting in Dursley Methodist Church back room at 2.30pm.

Please bring £2 to cover room hire and refreshments.

There will be a talk by Liz Jack about the National Archives at Kew. How they operate, and (hopefully) a guide to their website.
Thu Mar 26thScience & EngineeringVisit to the Javelin Park Incinerator, Javelin Park, Bath Road, Haresfield, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, GL10 3ET.

Javelin Park Incinerator (the “correct” term is “The Gloucestershire Energy from Waste Facility”) has now become fully operational, accepting up to 190,000 tonnes of residual waste each year from Gloucestershire’s homes and Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) and produce over 116,000 megawatts hour of electricity per annum which is exported to the National Grid.

We have arranged 2-hour tours of the plant on Thursday 26th March. One in the morning and one at 1.30pm in the afternoon as each tour is limited to 20 people and we are expecting a lot of interest, so first come..... (both tours are now FULL)

Part of the visit includes a walking tour, please check that you are ok with walking at height and ascending and descending stairs? To do the walking tour you will be required to wear PPE which we will supply for you. This will be a 'car share' visit.

To be placed on a reserve list please contact Mike Hadley via the bluebird.
April 2020
Thu Apr 2ndScience & Engineering

TALK by Robin Stafford Allen about "Renewable Energy - without the hot air...." [Robin gave the talk on Fusion energy last year].

Can we realistically live on renewable energy? Can we do without the coal, oil and natural gas that we so heavily rely on at the moment? This talk takes a logical look at the options and poo-poos some of the myths concerning sustainable renewable energy, but does also give guidance as to what we should do as individuals to give future generations a good world to inherit.

Renewables are providing only a few percent of the energy for the world and almost all renewable with the exception of hydroelectric dams, are “in addition” to power stations and not “instead of” power stations and so cannot be relied upon for “base-load” energy supply continuously.

The meeting will be held in the main body of the Dursley Methodist Church starting at 10.30am. The talk will last for about 1 hour including a Q & A session, and then refreshments. Please bring £2 to cover room hire and presenter travelling expenses. Please use the blue bird if you need to contact the organiser: Dave Waugh.

Fri Apr 3rdHistoric PlacesA visit to Stanway House and fountain and the watermill will be put into production to grind some of their own corn.They are opening this for us as a private tour. We will have a guided tour and a tea/coffee when we arrive Group rate £14.50.
In the afternoon a visit to the Ashmolean Museum in Broadway with a guided tour or other attractions in Broadway. Coach £9
Thu Apr 16thMeetingMonthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Angela Panrucker - History of Pub Signs
Fri Apr 17thChurch ExplorersCheltenham Synagogue. A guided tour at 11.30. The synagogue was designed by William Hill Knight and completed in 1839. Some of the furnishings were relocated here from an earlier synagogue in the City of London and are the oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue furniture in the UK. Donations on the day, £3.00 pp.
Sun Apr 19thConcert Group

The first outing will be on Sunday April 19th for an afternoon concert at-

The Royal Albert Hall for a concert of Great Choral Classics with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The programme will include-

  • Handel: Zadok the Priest Verdi: Requiem, Sanctus
  • Handel: Messiah, Hallelujah Chorus
  • Wagner: Tannhauser, Pilgrim’s Chorus
  • Orff: Carmina Burana, O Fortuna
  • Mozart: Requiem, Lacrymosa
  • Parry: I was glad
  • Parry: Jerusalem
  • Arne: Rule Britannia and more…

The price per ticket is only £44,43 which includes coach travel.

If you would like to book tickets for this concert or for more information please contact Rosemary Canning via the blue bird.

Tue Apr 21stGardening GroupBristol Botanical Gardens ( this is by coach)
Wed Apr 22ndScience & EngineeringVisit to the John Taylor Bell Foundry, Freehold Street, Loughborough, LE11 1AR.

This visit is to see the history in the development of the art of bell founding over the last 600yrs. It also houses the only museum dedicated to this. The complex as seen today was purpose built in 1850 where in the museum you can read about the Taylor family history and examine the workings of the unique Carter Ringing machine. You may also see casting being performed while in the works (although this is not guaranteed on the day we visit). This is rather special as it is only one of two working bell foundries left in this Country.

The Tour numbers are 10 minimum, 35 maximum. A HSE / insurance requirement is that all visitors must wear fully enclosed shoes, otherwise entry is refused. Tour starts at 1.30pm and lasts for 1.5 to 2hrs, of the works and museum. This is mostly on the flat except for the upper museum gallery. Wheel chairs can be accommodated. Admission is £10 per person.

It will take about 2.5 hours to drive to Loughborough, depending on traffic. Whether we arrange a coach will depend on numbers (Cost in the order of £15). We propose to start early enough (9.30am?) to allow for lunch at The Three Nuns pub in Loughborough, which is close by and can be pre booked for lunch. It has a varied menu. Return about 6pm.

To book a place on this visit, please contact Donald Gibson via the bluebird
Mon Apr 27thFamily HistoryMeeting in the back room of Dursley Methodist Church at 2.30pm.
Please bring £2 to cover room hire and refreshments.

Review of New Year's resolutions.
May 2020
Thu May 7thGardening GroupHellens house and gardens in Herefordshire. This is a joint trip with the Historic Places group, ( this is by coach ). Carol Tipper already has a list for this, so please contact her with names.
Thu May 7thHistoric PlacesHellens House and gardens. One of the oldest historic houses (before 1057) in England.
Not open on a Friday so the trip is Thursday.We are sharing this trip with the gardening group.Group rate with tour and a guide book is £8.50. Coach has been arranged at £10
Fri May 15thChurch ExplorersKempley, Gloucestershire has two churches and we will be the guests of Friends of Kempley Churches. We will start at the newer of the two. St Edward the Confessor was built in 1903 and is fully Arts and Crafts in design, with some furnishings by Gimson and Barnsley. After lunch in the village hall, we travel to the redundant St Mary. This church (Simon Jenkins three star) is Norman with some of the oldest surviving roof timbers in the country and a fine collection of Romanesque wall paintings. Approx cost £26.00pp to include coach, two tours and light lunch.
Thu May 21stMeetingMonthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Karen Davidson. Adventures in Archives – Berkeley Castle
Sat May 23rdScience & EngineeringVisit to The Met Office, Exeter, EX1 3PB.

A visit to the Met Office Open day has been arranged for Saturday May 23rd 2020.
The group size is limited to 35 so it’s first come first served. The tour itself will start at 15:00 hours. The Met office only hold Open days on Saturdays and we have to attend an afternoon session due to our group size.

There is no charge for the tour itself. A coach will be provided with pickups in Cam and Dursley. Arrangements will be made to have lunch either on route or at the Met Office restaurant. Expected Pickup and drop off times are 11:30am and 7:30 pm respectively. More details will follow once we have final numbers.

Summary of tour.
The open day starts with a presentation about the Met Office that includes some of the history and an overview of what they do, this is followed by a tour of the facilities, including the library and a chance to look at some of the equipment (old & new) that have been used to measure the weather. The tour will finish with a presentation from one of the operational meteorologists about the work they do, finishing with the forecast for the next few days. All the way through there is an opportunity to ask all the tour guides and presenters questions.

To book a place contact Dave Waugh via the Blue bird.
June 2020
Fri Jun 5thHistoric PlacesA trip has been arranged to Llanciach Fawr Mannor at group rate of £6 which includes an hour and a half tour.There is a restautant there if required. We will visit Castle Coch on the way home at group rate of £5,50. Coach will be £10
Tue Jun 16thGardening GroupHighnam court, Gloucester ( making your own way by car, and car sharing )
Thu Jun 18thMeetingAGM and Monthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Rose Hewlett - The Glamorgan Coast
Fri Jun 19thChurch ExplorersElmley Castle Church and Pershore Abbey Travel to Elmsley Castle Church for coffee and talk on the history of the church. The church of St Mary (Simon Jenkins two star) has Norman origins and is home to superb C17 monuments. Then on to Pershore where there are plenty of places for lunch and at 2.30 we have a guided tour of the Abbey. Pershore Abbey rates four stars, so a feast for the eyes. Expected time of departure 16.30pm. Approx cost £25pp to include coach and two guided tours.
Thu Jun 25thScience & EngineeringVisit to Hinkley Point B (HPB) nuclear power station.

A visit has been arranged to HPB on Thursday 25th June 2020. This EDF nuclear station is an Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) and has been in operation for over 40 years producing 1000 MW power into the grid.

The 3.5 hour tour starts in the EDF Energy Visitor Centre based in Bridgwater, where there is a 30 minute talk about Hinkley Point B power station. This encompasses the background of EDF Energy as a company and the varied sources of electricity as well as a breakdown of the working sites at Hinkley Point, including the new nuclear build at HPC.

We will then spend approximately 20 minutes in the interactive exhibition area where there is a lot to see and do, before we make our way to HPB itself. Here we will visit the control room viewing gallery, the turbine hall and the pilecap viewing gallery which is situated 160ft above sea level and looks down onto the top of the two reactors.

There is no fee for the tour itself, although a contribution to their current charity (Prostate cancer) would be appreciated. It is thought that a £5 donation per head would be appropriate.

A coach will be arranged with pickups in Wooton, Dursley and Cam. Coach cost will depend on final numbers but it is expected to be in the range of £10-£15. The number of visitors is limited to 30 so it will be first come first served.

Appropriate footwear is essential and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided. There is a substantial amount of walking during the tour, and we need to use a lift to access one of the Viewing Galleries, so if anyone suffers from claustrophobia, they may prefer to use the stairway - which is 10 floors up!

The tour starts at 9:15am so there will be an early start of 7:45am with an expected return time about 14:30pm.

To book a place please contact Dave Waugh via the Blue Bird.
July 2020
Fri Jul 3rdHistoric PlacesWe have organised a trip to Chepstow Castle and then on to Raglan Castle I have education tickets for both so the cost will just be £10 for the coach.
Tue Jul 14thGardening GroupDyffryn house and gardens (Saint Nicholas , Cardiff) National trust property
(This being a coach trip)
Thu Jul 16thMeetingMonthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Robin Burton
Story Telling Through Song (Tales from English folk song)
August 2020
Thu Aug 6thHistoric PlacesOur August trip will be a historic walk in Ledbury with a historian for £5 and then on to Eastnor Castle and gardens group rate of £11.50. The castle never opens on a Friday and this is the only Thurs they open so we have accepted the Thurs. The coach will be £10
Fri Aug 21stChurch ExplorersBeverston, Gloucestershire Simon Jenkins gives St Mary at Beverston a modest one star, and although small in size, it has an extensive history. The Berkeley Chapel boasts an unusual walk through squint. The rood screen was salvaged from the rectory garden when the church was restored from its ruinous state by the Victorians. The church has recently undergone more sympathetic alteration to fit it for C21.
11.00 am Meet at Beverston for guided tour of the church £5.00pp.
September 2020
Thu Sep 17thMeetingMonthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Jan Ryder - Longfield House
Fri Sep 18thChurch ExplorersHereford Cathedral Travel to Hereford in time for a morning guided tour of the cathedral. Members are free to spend the rest of the day in the town, take the self-guided tour of the library and the Mappa Mundi and/or join a guided tour of the cathedral gardens at 2.30. We would aim to depart from Hereford at about 16.30.
Approx cost Coach £15.50 plus Morning guided tour £5, Morning guided tour and afternoon garden tour £8, Morning guided tour and self-guided library tour £9, Morning guided tour, self-guided library tour and garden tour £14.
Sat Sep 26thGardening GroupMalvern autumn show ( by coach)
October 2020
Thu Oct 15thMeetingMonthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Peter Cheeseman, Civil Protection Advisor – Are You Ready?
Emergency Services Awareness.
November 2020
Thu Nov 5thScience & EngineeringThe Science and Engineering group hold an annual members meeting in November. This is for all Science and Engineering group members. This year's meeting is at 10.30am on 5th November in Dursley Methodist Church. There will be NO CHARGE for the meeting.

To start, there will be a talk - details to be advised nearer the time.

Following the talk there will be the usual (free) refreshments. Then we may do a review of potential events for 2021, but due to the poor attendance last year, we may omit this - we would welcome your views on this.
Fri Nov 6thHistoric PlacesNational Memorial Arboretum.
Entrance is free but we will give a donation.Wheelchairs or scooters can be hired if required if prebooked. We can also prebook arrival tea or coffees with biscuits @£3.
Also available to be booked is a walking tour at £3 per head and a land train aprox 50 minutes with a running commentary.
Price of coach £10
Thu Nov 19thMeetingMonthly branch meeting Dursley Methodist Church. Doors open 10.00 a.m. meeting starts 10.30 a.m.

Presenter: Patrick Marks - Indian Hill Railways
December 2020
Thu Dec 17thMeetingProvisional date for Christmas Mental Challenge - Please don’t be put off by the title as it will take the form of our usual Christmas Quiz with Mulled Wine and Mince Pies. As usual, it will be held in the Dursley Methodist Church for a prompt start at 10.30am.

Teams of 4 if possible as the prizes will only cover four people and we won’t be able to split them so you may need to work out how to share them!