Social event, Saturday 31 March: Dawn Chorus walk

Credit: By Shantanu Kuveskar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

A short Dawn Chorus walk in the Reabrook nature reserve in Shrewsbury. This walk will begin before dawn, and will be led by Matt Wilcoxon, the Countryside and Greenspace Team Leader at Shrewsbury Town Council.

Breakfast will be available from 8 am at a local house: donations requested to the charity Omushana: Sunshine for Children.

Meet outside the Saddlers pub, Whitecroft Road, Shrewsbury SY3 7TJ at 6.20 am for a 6.30 am start. Sunrise is at 6.47 am. Bring warm and (if necessary) waterproof clothing and good footwear. The going could be muddy in places.

We are extending a warm welcome to all, including local residents. You don’t have to be a humanist!

Sunday 12 February 2017: Visit to Darwin Lecture in Shrewsbury

On Sunday 12 February 2017, we have reserved 25 seats at £12 each for the Darwin Memorial Lecture at the Walker Theatre in the Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury, and 20 seats at The Armoury for lunch beforehand (12.00 noon). Members, partners and friends welcome. The lecture is at 2.00 pm.


Evolution by natural selection is biology’s central idea and arguably its most important one.

That this disarmingly simple notion was independently discovered synchronously by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace suggests that our focus should be on what they had in common, the milieu – social, cultural, technological, political – in which they lived.

This lecture will review some of the factors underlying the Darwin-Wallace breakthrough, emphasizing the implicit lesson for the history of science – that for a full understanding we need a multi-dimensional reconstruction of the world in which scientists lived and worked.

Dr Berry, educated in Shrewsbury, is a lecturer in evolutionary biology at Harvard University and has published extensively on both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace.

If you would like a lecture ticket and/or a lunch place, contact Margaret Cann as soon as possible.

Ludlow and Marches Group: Winter Social 17 January and talks programme

IMG2_0038 Ludlow editedOur neighbours in Ludlow have published their Winter/Spring programme.

17 January – Winter Social – 12 noon at The Queens, 113, Lower Galdeford, Ludlow (opposite the post office).

16 February“Conservationist, Wildlife Crime Investigator, Falconer” – talk by Chris Neal, of Chris Neal Falconry (formerly Hawkeye), who lives locally on the side of Clee Hill. Chris’s current expertise is in falconry, but he will be discussing cruelty to wildlife from his involvement in an undercover documentary film put together over several years for National Geographic, mainly filmed in India.

 15 March – ‘Population Concern’ – Steve Roberts-Mee of Population Matters, the UK charity associated with this serious issue. Concerns have been expressed at least since the time of Confucius (6th century BCE) on the negative effects of world overpopulation.

19 April – ‘A Brief History of Architecture – from the religious to the secular’ – A talk by Dr Frank Ryding, perhaps better known for his Red Cross work.

Talks are held at 7:30 p.m. in the Friends’ Meeting House (St Mary’s Lane, Ludlow ) on the third Tuesday of the month.

Ludlow and Marches Humanists summer social, 21 June

Our neighbours the Ludlow and Marches Humanists are holding their  Summer Social on Sunday 21st June. They plan a walk from the Cliffe at Dinham car park (SY8 2JE) followed by lunch at the Cliffe.  Lunch has been booked for 12.30pm. If you are interested in joining in, please contact David Trotter.

The walk will be along the Teme and over Whitcliffe Common, with points of interest on the way. The less energetic will not have to make the climb up Whitcliffe. The walk will be lead by Juliet & David Trotter. Please bring suitable clothing and boots or stout shoes.

Social on 4 July: Shrewsbury bridges walk and barbecue

DSCF2159-edited The annual summer social will be in Shrewsbury this year, on Saturday 4 July. All are welcome, especially if you would like to talk to local humanists in a relaxed atmosphere.

There will be a guided walk around the Shrewsbury river bridges followed by a barbecue lunch at the home of Simon and Bridget Nightingale by the river near Porthill footbridge.

The walk will start at 10.30 from the corner of Frankwell car park next to the footbridge, and you can walk all or part of the walk as it is easy to drop out and go straight to the lunch venue. We plan to visit (but not cross all) the bridges around the town centre and look at points of interest and some of the history. There will be some steps and inclines, and the route may be changed subject to the weather and any flooding.

If you don’t want to go on the walk, meet at the house in New Street, Frankwell, from 12.00 for the BBQ at 13.00. There is plenty to do in the house and garden, including table tennis, a rowing boat (with an electric motor for the lazy), a rather difficult maze and a house full of mechanical puzzles. There is very limited parking, but Frankwell car park is not far away.

There is a charge of £5 for the meal. If you’d like to come, please contact our Secretary who will give you the details. This enables us to plan for numbers and dietary requirements.

Young Humanists organisation is launched

10355602_1509069946014049_3752204951578051822_o         A new  humanist organisation, Young Humanists, has formed to provide a space for non-religious people aged 18-35 to meet, socialise, network, debate and support each other. Young Humanists is  having a launch party on 27 March. If you’re in or around London drop by for a free glass of prosecco, some stand-up comedy and to discuss “What’s it all about?” with your fellow young humanists. 1462992_1563442483910128_2454493330214431205_n

December social: lunch at the Riverside Inn, Cound, on 14 December

holly editedFor this year’s festive lunch on Sunday 14th December we shall be returning to The Riverside Inn, Cound, who have served us extremely well in the last two years. Arrival from 12 noon, when the doors open, for a 12:30pm start. Their Christmas 2014 Menu is available at

All are welcome, but please let us know by Thursday 20th November (the day of our November monthly meeting) whether you will be attending, with details of your menu choices. It is likely that we will have the same area of the Summer Room as we occupied last year.

Please note that, if we have more that 12 in our party, there will be a 10% service charge applied. As last year, it is likely to be one bill for our table so please bring the right amount of cash for the meal you order.

Report on our July social: walk around the industrial archaeology of Lilleshall

I expect a lot of us were unaware of the richness of the industrial heritage of Lilleshall, now mostly a dormitory and retirement village with a very prosperous air, set in lovely countryside. Sue and Ron Falder’s expertly-guided walk complete with explanatory handouts opened our eyes, and we had a most enjoyable walk on a glorious summer day.

Sue Falder writes:

The walk explored the development of limestone mining and quarrying in Lilleshall and the associated building of a network of tub-boat canals. The Donnington Wood canal, into which the Lilleshall arm fed, was only the second in the country, built in 1767.

We went up Barrack Lane, looking at modern houses which covered the old quarry yard and had replaced the workers’ barracks and stabling and then entered the main quarry area, which has recently been cleared and restored.

We went along the tramway which carried lime to the Lilleshall canal and saw the entrance to four kilns, two tunnels and two quarry pools and faces.
White limestone was used for building cement, for fertilizer and as flux for smelting at iron furnaces at Donnington Wood and Calbrookdale – Lilleshall limestone being known as superior to all others as ironstone flux. Lilleshall was also the source of grey limestone, a waterproof material which was used in the building of the Liverpool Docks.

We paused to look at The Plaque which commemorates the lengthy filling in process which took place in the nineties, when all the shafts under the housing in Limekiln Lane were filled with thousands of tonnes of cement and gravel.

At The Incline, we saw the entrance of a small tunnel which took tub-boats 65 metres to a shaft, where they were hauled up on to the higher-level Donnington Wood Canal. This was used for 30 years until the inclined plane (the second in the country after Ketley) was built. That system lasted for the next 85 years.

Some of the group ended the walk by going up Lilleshall Hill to see the Monument and admire the 360-degree view. Others went straight to the Redhouse Inn, where we enjoyed lunch.





Ludlow and Marches Humanists: summer social 6 July

ScanImage042-editedThe Ludlow and Marches Humanists are having as their Summer Social  a guided walk around the Walls & Gates of Ludlow, leader Chris Hyde. This will take place on Sunday 6th July 2014, followed by Sunday lunch at The Queens Hotel.

Meet at 10.00am by the back window of the Ludlow Library (which is in the Co-op car park). Lunch is booked for 12.00 noon. The Queens has a high reputation for good food at reasonable prices.

Anyone who wishes to join in is asked to let David Trotter know by Sunday 29th June whether they will be attending both the walk and the lunch, or just one.