Geo-Amble 7th August

We met at the Talbot, Knightwick, had a look at the large stone apple press, (HERE for Building Stones database information) its quartz conglomerate wheel, past the now converted church (HERE) with its varieties of building stones then tackled the steep road to join the Worcestershire Way going North.  En-route lying on the grassy verge to stop cars parking, we discovered a triplet of foreigners, rocks that definitely do not come from this neck of the woods (see pics).  Later investigation was conclusive in that the two obviously igneous rocks were granites from Shap in NW England and the black rock with quartz vein seems to be Greywacke, probably from Scotland, a very mixed, sedimentary rock formed by underwater turbidity currents (the third picture on the above web page is very similar to the rock we saw by the roadside in Knightwick in my opinion).  Thanks to Prof. Donny Hutton and Moira Jenkins for the detective work. Moira showed us a beautiful polished piece of Shap granite that she has on a shelf at home.

Cross the road, watch the traffic, carry on up the Worcestershire Way, through the dense, mixed woodland that now cloaks the hills.  Closer examination and explorative walks show a hillside pock marked all over with the remains of old quarries and of long-left buildings.  There must be a fascinating social history waiting to be discovered.

According to the geological map, along the road and at the top of the hill, we were in Wyche Formation, Silurian, no lime content (verified with acid afterwards), fine silt and sandstones (Sandstone, Micaceous. Sedimentary Bedrock formed approximately 428 to 436 million years ago in the Silurian Period. Local environment previously dominated by shallow seas. Generally grey, brown and pale green mudstones and siltstones with thin tabular green sandstones. Setting: shallow seas. These rocks were formed in shallow seas with mainly siliciclastic sediments (comprising of fragments or clasts of silicate minerals) deposited as mud, silt, sand and gravel).

Wyche Formation from Top of Ankerdine

Wyche Formation from Top of Ankerdine

The Wyche is older than the more familiar Much Wenlock limestone of the area, which according to the map, we traversed on our way uphill.  One can only presume that the limestones were used for rubble building and for lime burning to put on fields or to make lime mortar, as happened all along this ridge.  On the other hand the Wyche is quite blocky in nature, see pics, and probably lends itself quite well to more regular building.  At any rate at the top of the hill, yards before the East Malvern Fault completely transforms the geological content, lie the remains of quarries, with old entrance ways, ancient yew trees and some small exposures.  In short order, a group could easily make this more visible and accessible but doubt the County Council would appreciate that as it is one of their managed areas and previous proposals of ours have been dismissed, well, dismissively.

From there we strolled along the Worc. Way to the picnic and car park areas where a board explained something about the Common. Good views over towards Bromyard and its plateau of Devonian St Maughans. In not too unseemly haste we tripped downhill into the comfort of the Talbot’s lounge and the health giving properties of its home brewed ales.  Very pleasant.

HERE is a geological map of the area followed below the evening’s pictures.

During the week I have come across two topics worth noting.  The first is a critique of Tolkien’s map of Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings (map).  The second is a fascinating article on minerals that have yet to be discovered (+-5000 known +-1500 to go)  HERE

Busk Coppice and Quarry Hill

St Mary's, Stanford with Orleton, looking South

St Mary’s, Stanford with Orleton, looking South

Under the Spreading Chestnut tree

Under the Spreading Chestnut tree

On Thursday February 14th, having opened all our cards and under grey skies, Ian, Mike and self, continued our foray into the Teme Valley and you know, sounds daft, but it really does feel like exploration when for us, checking out the rocks is a novel experience.  Anyway, we headed first to St Marys, Stanford, to see if we could find on the ground evidence of the mapped Raglan Sandstones in the land above the church. At the spot under a spreading chestnut tree we did indeed find sandstone rocks but these were scattered about and could possibly have been from local building works although at the time we preferred not to see them that way. To us they seemed similar to the church and to local walls of the old rectory just across the road.

Sandstone from West of St Mary's

Sandstone from West of St Mary’s

Sandstone from West of St Mary's

Sandstone from West of St Mary’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travelling up the road by car, we entered Busk Coppice to show Mike the large quarry found on our last visit—did this supply the stone to St Marys’ Stanford, but where is the lime kiln that Mr Churchill the farmer had told us about?

Lime Kiln in Busk Coppice

Lime Kiln in Busk Coppice

Lime Kiln Busk Coppice

Lime Kiln Busk Coppice

We wandered about down into gullies keeping in mind that it would not be far from the Bishops Frome layer, here underlying the quarried rock, St Maughans sandstone.  We gave up and called the farmer who directed us back up the track to a shooting platform and

Conical Kiln in the Undergrowth

Conical Kiln in the Undergrowth

 

Sketch of Lime Kiln, Busk Coppice

Sketch of Lime Kiln, Busk Coppice

goodness, there, not 3 metres from the trail, was a deep conical brick lined pit, a danger to anyone not seeing it, set in a levelled off terrace.  On the terrace below was a substantial brick built arched construction leading into the terrace and under the cone. A magnificent example of an ancient kiln, a little the worse for wear and needing attention to remove trees and soil but other than that looked like it could be relit straight away. This would have been used to make lime for mortar for building and for the fields and was slap bang into the Bishops Frome limestone, the calcrete (fossilised soil) referred to in other posts. According to Mr Churchill, a farm worker by the name of Tommy Tucker used to live in the arched kiln.  A little archaeological investigation sounds in order. Read Nils Wilkes fascinating study of Lime Kilns in Worcestershire HERE

So you burn limestone at 900C thus converting it from Calcium Carbonate to Quicklime and Carbon Dioxide, then you slake it with water making Calcium Hydroxide, known as lime putty, used as the base for a slow setting, traditional mortar still used in renovation work today.

That accomplished we went by car along the charming, twisty, switchback lane to just beyond Orleton until we reached the foot of Quarry Hill—the clue being in the name.

Valley Geological Map from BGS

Valley Geological Map from BGS, click to enlarge

This is an outlier from the main escarpment.  The geological maps show the limestone outcropping around the whole of the Bromyard plateau, with an island of it on top of Quarry Hill.

According to the maps the limestone was set in a sea of (Silurian) Raglan Mudstone only, and as we struggled up the wooded precipitous hillside littered with fallen trees, the redness of the soil seemed to indicate that this was the case.  There were occasional obvious trackways contouring the slopes, signs of forestry work or perhaps quarrying, who knows?  In the red roots of fallen trees we searched for stone as tell-tale of underlying rock and these at first were typical of Raglan sandstone.  Continuing to force our way upwards to the very top we discovered a substantial area clearly shaped by human endeavour.  There were no rock faces but the humps and bumps seemed to show that much of the top layer of limestone had been removed.  We did uncover large stones set in a semi-circle, perhaps the foundation of a kiln?

Conglomerate, both ruddy and grey with bedrock behind

Conglomerate, both ruddy and grey with bedrock behind

Just down the slope, we chanced upon exposed bedrock and took samples.  To our surprise these mirrored an earlier finding some way down the slope (that we had tried to ignore), of a coarse conglomerate, not what we expected at all.  One was ruddy, the other light grey, found 3-400mm above one another in clear layers.  The map shows (Devonian) St Maughans conglomerate in a number of places, but nowhere near this spot, and certainly none below the limestone. So how to explain this?  We retrieved our samples, cleaned them and will set them before the oracle as soon as we can.

Conglomerate

Conglomerate

Top of Quarry Hill, Mike on Access Trackway

Top of Quarry Hill, Mike on Access Trackway

Teme Valley around Stanford

Teme Valley around Stanford

More Quarry Hunting

hmm, our quarry was a quarry, a quarry or quarries that supplied stone (St Maughans) to local buildings, for example St Mary’s, Stanford with Orleton.

Another magnificent perfect blue sky winter day, ice in the shade, crystal views in all directions, what better place to be than the Teme Valley near Stanford even if for much of the time we were slipping through mud and tripping over brambles.  Having phoned first, Ian and I called and made our acquaintance with Mr Churchill who tenants Fall Farm.  He kindly allowed us on land alongside the Bromyard Road where Mr Lane had told us there would be a stone quarry, and indeed a crag is marked on the OS map.  Mr C told us of a lime kiln near the quarry and a place where years ago a farm worker used to live, saying he was surprised that the kiln was not listed.

After a bit of a false start on a trail that dead ended in impenetrable woodland we found good, if muddy tracks and around the corner there was the quarry.

Ian, for scale, on the quarry face

Ian, for scale, on the quarry face

Now well taken back into nature so very little rock was showing it was nevertheless clear enough to access the face.  On the day, Ian was the more agile so scrambled up the slope, found some rock and we brought back a few samples. After scrubbing up and a full dishwasher cycle see below for a picture of micaceous sandstone we believe to be St Maughans, a Devonian Formation, used in many local buildings. Realising that St M

St Maughans from the Quarry

St Maughans from the Quarry

along this part of the valley, sits atop Bishops Fromelimestone (formerly Psammosteus), Ian descended into the steep Vee side dingle below the quarry and lo and behold with a bit of digging about, found the typical noduley limestone that typifies this calcrete or fossilised soil, picture below.

We did not locate the lime kiln, this requires another visit, but one can only assume that it was placed there to take advantage of the calcrete,

St Mary's Church

St Mary’s Church

there being to our knowledge no other sources of lime this side of the valley.  We need to check but it could be that the main quarry was the source of stone for St Mary’s Church that sits so proudly on a promontory over the valley above Stanford Court, built there when a large lake was required in front of the Court.

Washed and dried specimens (click to enlarge):

Bishops Frome and St Maughans

Bishops Frome and St Maughans

Bishops Frome and St Maughans

BF and St M 2

Searching for ORS Quarries

The above acronym was useful for one thing, it allowed me to fit the title all on one line, but they are not helpful to use unless in very common parlance.

Old Red Sandstone (mainly Devonian) forms the bulk of what we from Martley see across the Teme.  There is no Devonian in Martley but there are one or two buildings, most notably the Old School by the Church, made from a grey/green sandstone (one wonders if geologists have hyper eyesight at times) that certainly does not occur locally.  Travel to Clifton and especially Bromyard and many buildings are from the same material, so what is it?  Years have gone by and no answer to this, one would have thought simple, question was found in spite of 3 or 4 geologists being asked their opinion.  So, we made our own decision by concluding the flippin’ obvious–St Maughans Formation–has to be, indeed is.

Our interview last week with John Lane suggested three quarry sites near Stanford and this Sunday, Mike, Jane, Colin and self had a fabulous walk in brilliant, sunny but cold weather, tramping the dingles and hills near Park Farm, Stanford Court and Stanford Church. Where the land slopes steeply from the Bromyard plateau down to the Teme Valley it is heavily wooded, a tangled and often impenetrable jungle with access ways for those who rear pheasants and remove timber.  There is a good rights of way network too and the signage not bad given the remote location.

We reckon we found the site of one St Maughans quarry (there are two more to investigate but we ran out of time).  There was a pretty little spring rising in a small cave under massive, bedded sandstone and being winter the best time to observe rocks that in summer will be well covered up.

Just around the corner from the quarry we came across the fabled Temple of Temple dingle (GR SO370253 264721), a place both Mike and I had long heard of but never been able to find.  There it was, at the side of a very good track, terribly ruined but showing its obvious former splendour. Who built it?  When? How long was it occupied?  Many questions and will attempt to find answers–some of you may know, if so please would you contact me, thanks?

Pictures:

  • Tangled Woodland Tangled Woodland
  • The Temple West Front The Temple West Front
  • The Temple South East The Temple South East
  • The Temple East Side The Temple East Side Outer wall this end has collapsed
  • The Temple from the North The Temple from the North
  • The Temple and Retaining Wall The Temple and Retaining Wall
  • Is this a Quarry Site? Is this a Quarry Site?
  • or this? or this?
  • Pretty Cave with Spring Pretty Cave with Spring
  • Access Tracks--Very Muddy! Access Tracks--Very Muddy!
  • Spring with St Maughans Spring with St Maughans
  • St Maughans St Maughans

A New Trail?

Martley has three geological trails, none to the South.  Ian proposed that a walking route written in the 90s by Keith and Audrey Trumper (who started the Path-or-Nones footpath maintenance group, still going) would form the basis of a geology trail that crossed formations with excellent views useful for interpretation.

On Saturday 22nd March, four of us had a close look at the area; Natalie Watkins provided the professional input, the rest of us tagged along, making what we thought were useful comments.

If the trail IS to come to fruition then funding will be required for art and design, printing and so on; David is looking into this.  The route veers from the original walking route (No 9 if you are interested, see it HERE on the PONS web site) and is not yet settled but will be around 6 miles and is hilly.  The formations crossed, or nearby, are Bromsgrove Sandstone and Sidmouth Mudstone (Triassic), Haffield Breccia (Permian), Highley Fmn (Carboniferous), Wyche Fmn, Wenlock, Raglan Mudstone (Silurian) and good views through the Teme gap by Osebury Rock and of the Bromyard Plateau (Devonian).  We spent time scrabbling about in some of the many quarries on Ankerdine, now deep in a mixed woodland, and from which several local buildings have been made. These include most of the old church, though there are other materials from whence we know not where. Incidentally the church is undergoing conversion to a dwelling and we were kindly allowed to look around by the builder.  Capturing our attention too, the wheel of the apple press by the Talbot (see pic) is a coarse version of, we concluded, the local Wyche Fmn.  In our travels we collected samples of Wyche and the variation was instructive in itself, from fine silty material to coarse, gravelly, proving the existence of different environments all those years ago (+-420Ma) in the early Silurian.

Finally we were kindly entertained to tea and sweet things by always welcoming Nigel and Sarah in their delightful cottage, uniquely placed on the East Malvern Fault, with Silurian, Permian and Triassic in their back garden.

  • Apple Press by Talbot Apple Press by Talbot
  • Apple Press, Assumed Wyche, Very Pebbly Apple Press, Assumed Wyche, Very Pebbly
  • Doddenham Church Conversion Kitchen Doddenham Church Conversion Kitchen
  • Wyche--SIlty, Fine Grained Wyche--SIlty, Fine Grained
  • Wyche Moderately Coarse Wyche Moderately Coarse
  • Wyche Coarse Wyche Coarse
  • Wyche Almost Pebbly Wyche Almost Pebbly
  • Nat in Quarry, Top of Ankerdine, Close to Wenlock Junction Nat in Quarry, Top of Ankerdine, Close to Wenlock Junction

Building Stones news

The Building Stones Project – 1000 Years of Building with Stone – is the latest project run by the Earth Heritage Trust, based at the University of Worcester. It is a 3½ year Lottery funded community history project aiming to investigate the wealth of stone buildings in the 2 counties, and linking them to the quarries which yielded the stone used to build them.

Much information about vernacular buildings and local small quarries is not yet known or is in danger of being lost. This project hopes to learn about the buildings, the people who owned and occupied them, who obtained the stone (and how), the people employed in the quarries, how it was transported, and how far, and other information which will put together a comprehensive picture of stone and its place in local communities and the built landscape.

It is based around volunteers who will be trained to gather information about the stone buildings in their local area, online, on the ground, in the archives, and in discussion with local people.

There is an obvious link to this project with the TVGS, and we have formed a local group to focus on the Teme Valley, initially in Martley and surrounding parishes and hopefully extending further up and down the valley as we develop our working methods and linking with any other groups who may form within the project.

The nucleus of the Teme Valley group has met to look at the scope of the work and how to take it forward, and we now need as many others who are interested to join the group and take part in this exciting opportunity. Already we have identified many stone buildings in Martley which we didn’t realise were there and are beginning to assemble a comprehensive list.

If you are interested in any of the following activities:

  •  Map surveys
  • Photographing buildings

  • Learning how to use archives

  • Online research

  • Asking people about the history of their buildings and local quarries

  • Assisting in technical/scientific stone analysis

  • Data collection and collation

please contact me, on ianpennell1@tiscali.co.uk for more information on how to volunteer, or building.stones@worc.ac.uk for more background on the project.

You can follow the project blog at http://lostquarries.wordpress.com/ , or on Twitter via @BuildingStones.

 

Local Field Trip 26th May 2012

We stayed with our plans to hold a field trip in May, on 26th and so pleased we did—a very special time together, led by Donnie (Prof. Donnie Hutton), around three local (to Martley) geology sites.  The weather was wonderful (seems long time ago as I write this; actually, it IS a long time ago) and for a number of us the day was made extra special by the sight of a beautiful red kite floating along the Nubbins outcrop for 15 or 20 minutes whilst we gathered at Martley Hall in the morning.  I have said elsewhere that for twenty years I have scanned the skies in vain and never seen a kite here (other have) until 26th May.

Here is Ian’s contribution (thanks Ian)

Penny Hill, Martley–first, the group drove to examine the Silurian ‘Wenlock’ limestone ridge which forms Penny Hill just north of the village. Accompanied by the landowner, Trevor Nott, and family, we were able to see how the stone which forms the hill is sheared off to the East along the East Malvern Fault.  To the east, the wide rift valley of the Worcester Basin, later backfilled with riverine Triassic Bromsgrove sandstone and overlying marl deposits in a dramatic demonstration of the borderline between “old” and “young” Britain and the power of erosion.

The Wenlock limestone is rich in fossils (bioclastic) and formed in shallow coastal waters 423-428 million years ago south of the equator.  At this time, most of proto-Britain was part of the micro continent Avalonia, drifting towards the modern day North American landmass of Laurentia through the closing of the Iapetus Ocean.

Iapetus Ocean and Avalonia

The resulting collision attached a piece of Laurentia to the north of us, forming the northern half of Scotland, and may have produced the Malvern fault system during the Caledonian orogeny (mountain building period), setting off the formation of the rift valley of the Severn.

The fossils – no dinosaurs of course, they came hundreds of millions of years later–are predominantly small seabed dwelling creatures; corals, brachiopods (shellfish),

Silurian Fossils

stromatoporoids, crinoids and trilobites, although none of the latter were seen. They are embedded in a grey-blue flaggy limestone with alternating stone, thin mudstone interbed layers and evidence of volcanic eruptions in the form of weathered ash (bentonite) layers. Currently these layers throughout the whole of the country’s Wenlock distribution, are being microscopically investigated by Dr David Ray.  We hope he will become a visiting speaker to TVGS.

Fast forwarding 125 million years to the echoes of the mountain building caused by the distant collision of Africa and Eurasia (the Variscan orogeny), our land mass was now drifting through the lush green  equatorial region during the carboniferous era, laying down coal deposits across the Midlands, including small patches in Martley. It was probably these tectonic forces which pushed up the previously flat Welsh Marches limestone of which Penny and Abberley Hills are an important part, to form the folded landscape we see today.  Note: the profile of Penny Hill has now been recreated following quarrying and refuse landfill.  The refuse was capped with clay, extracted mainly from Cob House Fisheries to leave behind many new fishing pools, allowing the controlled capture of biogenic methane.  This is used as a fuel for electrical generators on site at Penny Hill to produce electricity for the National Grid, enough for a significant proportion of the energy demand of Martley Parish. Here a few pictures from Penny Hill

  • Approach to Callow Canyon Approach to Callow Canyon
  • In Callow Canyon In Callow Canyon
  • Donny conducting the Canyon Donny conducting the Canyon
  • Penny Hill Main Quarry Face Penny Hill Main Quarry Face
  • Penny Hill Main Face Penny Hill Main Face
  • Penny Hill Exposed Bedding Plane Penny Hill Exposed Bedding Plane

     

After a thorough look around Penny Hill, completing the circuit from the north, around the west, then east and back to our start, we drive over to Brockhill Court where we made our acquaintance with Sir Anthony Winnington, who was doing a bit of gardening, and who most graciously allowed us to see the fascinating geology that exists on his land, adjacent to the house.

Here is Bryan’s report (thanks Bryan)

Brockhill Dyke, Shelsley Beauchamp, where a teschenite dyke is exposed in an old pit. Little remains of the dyke except high up in the eastern end of the pit. However, good fresh specimens of the rock were obtained after a stiff scramble halfway up the face. Sodium rich, it belongs to the syeno-gabbro suite of rocks. It’s mineral composition is very similar to gabbro but the inclusion of an alkaline mineral, (either nepheline or analcite – in this case analcite) distinguishes it from gabbro. Plagioclase feldspar, clinopyroxene, analacite (easily distinguishable), minor amphibolites and biotite make up this medium- grained basic rock. The dyke extends east-west for about 1200 metres and is exposed in small pits on the western side of the Teme. The river itself runs along the line of the dyke until it finds a way through, just below Brockhill Court.  Emplaced in the Downton Series of red marls and sandstones it is about ten metres wide and dips almost vertically.  No in situ examination of the margins was possible but the Droitwich Memoire has it that narrow doleritic edges to the dyke can be seen. Loose specimens were found of what may have been a fine grained rock from the chilled margin of the dyke. Excellent examples of spheroidal (onion) weathering can be found in the debris of the pit and on the exposed face.

The country rock, marls, silts and sandstones, were ‘baked’ by the hot (1600 degrees C?) magma. The sandstones and are now hornfels, a very hard, metamorphic rock. During the baking some layers of the purple marls were sufficiently plastic to allow the escape of volatile gases and the development of vesicles and tubes which were later lined with calcite, chlorite and analcite.  Extreme baking produced vitrified black specimens with conchoidal fracturing. Good examples of all of these rocks can be found in the garden walls of the nearby Brockhill Court.

An explanation of the cause of the Brockhill dyke was given by our very knowledgeable guide, Prof Donny Hutton. The dyke is one of a suite of dykes emplaced in late Carboniferous times (300 Ma) during the Variscan Orogeny. Similar dykes with similar E-W orientation can be found inNorthern Englandand the Midland Valley of Scotland. Variscan subduction with consequent loading and downbending of the lithosphere induced ‘flexural bulging’ with uplift and tensional fracturing of the crust. Low degrees of adiabatic melting produced buoyant syeno-gabbros which rose and pushed into the fractures.  Some pictures:

  • Parking at Brockhill Court Parking at Brockhill Court
  • Donny and his Clipboard Donny and his Clipboard
  • Lunch Break Lunch Break
  • Samples showing Gas Vents Samples showing Gas Vents
  • Wall at Brocklhill with excellent examples of all the rocks types Wall at Brocklhill with excellent examples of all the rocks types
  • Wall at Brockhill Wall at Brockhill
  • Contact Point--Dyke and Country Rock Contact Point--Dyke and Country Rock
  • Onion Skin Weathering Onion Skin Weathering
  • Onion Skin Weathering Onion Skin Weathering

Donny also gave us a very useful rule of thumb for distinguishing between sandstones, siltstones and mudstones. If we can, with the naked eye, see individual crystals and can feel them, then it’s a sandstone; if we can’t see the crystals but can feel them, then it’s a siltstone;  and if we can neither see nor feel the crystals, then it’s a mudstone or shale.

Southstone Rock, Teme Valley–to round off the day, a sensational walk up the western slope of the Teme valley to see what is reputed to be the largest tufa deposit in the country, known as Southstone Rock and still, visibly, growing.  Originally the site of a hermitage and a homestead, there is no habitation there now (to see an aerial photo before trees, check out Cliff Barnards book, A Tale of Two Villages, ISBN: 0952657503), but the sacred spring keeps working, gushing fulsomely out of the base of the Bishops Frome limestone, laden with calcium carbonate that precipitates in the cooler air.  The moss, Palustriella Commutata, seems to enjoy ‘taking the water’ and grows abundantly, being petrified in the process thus creating an easy to work, warm, light but durable building material.  This has been quarried for centuries, witness Shelsley Walsh church and nearby cottage, the Lion at Clifton and many other premises, but peculiarly it is difficult to see evidence of this at the site itself.  EHT have produced an excellent leaflet ‘Southstone Rock’ Geology and Landscape Trail Guide and these are freely available from EHT (01905 885184).

Here is Ingrid’s report on this part of the day (thanks Ingrid)

On Saturday 26th May (one of the last days of summer 2012) TVGS arrived at the final stop of the Teme Valley Tour.  Several of us had never been here and, as promised by those in the know, it certainly proved to be one of the best kept secret places in the area.

After some manoeuvring we somehow managed to fit all the cars safely into a lay by at the side of the road opposite the track up to Southstone Rock.  A short trek along a lush and overgrown path and a steep climb steeply upwards.  Round a bend and across a rickety bridge and there it was!  Best described as a cross between Gormenghast, pumice stone and Lord of the Rings this great white edifice towered above us.  The newbies amongst us sunk onto the nearest rock in the shade underneath to catch our breath.  We rapidly moved when Donny informed us that it was a little fragile with a tendency to move chunks of itself downwards into the stream below, and no, not pumice at all but the miraculous Tufa rock.  Literally a ‘living rock’ and this is one of the best examples in the country.  Moving smartly from under the overhang in case of falling boulders, we climbed upwards through a series of secret paths and labyrinthine ways to reach the top.

This was a significant area of pilgrimage in years gone and was said to be inhabited by a hermit.  Latterly a cottage was built at the top, but little remains of this and this quiet wooded area was sadly decimated by developers a few years ago, who clear felled leaving all manner of brash and rubbish that nature is slowly healing.  The densely wooded hill rose steeply above us but we headed to the shady outlet of a strong fresh water spring – very refreshing on a hot afternoon.  From there we followed the narrow stream a little way downhill to see a miracle-tufa rock in production-as the clear water flowed over mosses, slowly petrifying them as it tumbled over a most picturesque water fall to the valley below.

It wouldn’t be a TVGS field trip if we didn’t have a bit of scrambling, duly paying homage in the time honoured way of all pilgrims, we wetted our feet climbing up the stream bed from the bottom to see this more closely. Down below us Donny diverted some of the party by finding playdoh, sorry volcanic clays, apparently top quality potting clays, in the base of the stream near the rickety bridge.  It was time to make our way soggily down the hill through the heat of an English summer day, a perfect end to a thoroughly interesting day.

  • donny at the Base of Southstone Rock donny at the Base of Southstone Rock
  • Site of the Old House Site of the Old House
  • Tasting the Water Tasting the Water
  • The Spring The Spring
  • Top of the Waterfall down the Rock Top of the Waterfall down the Rock
  • Moss and Petrification creating small tunnels Moss and Petrification creating small tunnels
  • A new delta forming over and above the adjacent stream A new delta forming over and above the adjacent stream
  • The waterfall unfortunately obstructed by fallen trees nowadays The waterfall unfortunately obstructed by fallen trees nowadays
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Finally, especial thanks to Donny for his time and the notes that he distributed, we all enjoyed our outing.

First Working Party

Work at Martley Rock–Saturday afternoon,

Cleaning up the west trench, Mike and Alan

7th April TVGS’s first work party descended on Martley Rock. Armed to the teeth something like a bunch of brigands, the foot soldiers, rakes and shovels on shoulders, led into battle by Skinny’s trusty old Merry Tiller. Old it might be but it did the job wonderfully. Hardened soil softened under its caress as Skinny manfully wrestled the bronco so that the rakers and trampers could follow on behind, levelling and firming prior to seeding.
A group of agriculturists had stayed at The Chandlery during the week, up to meet with Dave Richards at Ridgend Farm to advise on better production from cattle and field. Not knowing what hit him, the expert in grass seed gave up the struggle quickly and was soon on the phone requesting a free sack of ‘the right stuff’ to seed this scenic corner of Worcestershire. Thanks LIMAGRAIN of Market Rasen (http://www.limagrain.co.uk/index.php), your generosity and expertise is very much appreciated by TVGS.
Apart from preparing the ground for seeding, we attended to the whole of the long trench, cleaning up the lips by rounding them off, and removing spoil from the east, Triassic, end. By the time we had finished after a couple off hours we were really pleased with our efforts. Just shows what can be done with a small group in a short time. Mike Install brought along some bean poles and we erected a temporary fence to stop traffic on seeded areas by the road. Andy cleared overhanging branches and during the week Mike (Dunnet) had sprayed the nettles and dogs mercury so that by the time we arrived on site it looked pretty ill. I think its the nub of why we do it when you can draw in people with different skills to get the job done–Mike D is from a gardening background, many of you know him from the Hort Soc and his wonderful open gardens up on Ankerdine. Everyone knows Skinny, don’t you? It seems that way to me–whether in the Teme Valley or downtown Martley, Skinny is well known as tree surgeon, grafter and keen to assist with community projects. The rest of us have all done a bit of raking and tramping in our time so played our part in the exercise. Good job–thanks Ian, Mike, Skinny, Alan, Andy.

Ian Spreading Seed

Sunday 8th–Ian and I managed to get up to the site and seed the whole area, afterwards raking it in.

With some spare time we also managed to clean out the east end of the exposed quarry, down to solid rock, using spoil from there to fill in the depression on the next level.

Quarry Cleaned

We aim to clean out all of the this pit, in order to expose solid rock and any features that it might exhibit.

 

 

 

 

 

Yellowstone–On Monday 26th March, Dr Ian Sutton presented ‘Yellowstone’ to a mid thirties audience (number not age). Those who had been to Yellowstone had their enthusiasm for this unique and varied park rekindled; those who have never been, myself included, renewed their vows to go there asap. How long do you need? There is so much to see, and though we focus on geology in our group, Ian, in a beautifully illustrated talk, showed that it’s not only steam and hisses, but wild life, scenic wonder and just wide open spaces–with the threat of doom through mega explosion not far down in one’s consciousness. Actually Ian discounted that and latest research suggests that the magma chambers underneath are not so large as to pose an ‘end of the world’ threat to North America. Thanks Ian!

Mapping Course–One more reminder for the Mapping Course starting 15th May, call Nat at EHT 01905 855184

The Martley Geology Project–the team is considering the way forward, i.e. the current project has some months to run and a number of milestones to achieve but can we now start to think of more? The audit of Martley geology lists over 40 sites in the parish and a handful of these meet the criteria of accessibility, interest and relevance. Given our aim of making Martley a European Geo Village, with trails and representative sites, we need to keep this in mind. Anyone reading this and interested in taking part in anyway whatsoever in our future projects, please speak up!