• Local GAPs

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February 2019 news and update

1. Conserving Herefordshire’s Ice Age Ponds – Volunteer Training Days

Would you like to come along and learn about the fascinating world of Ice Age Ponds, their wildlife and geological origins and how we can help to keep them for future generations?

The new project “Conserving Herefordshire’s Ice Age Ponds”, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is running a 1 day training course for volunteers wishing to expand their knowledge about Ice Age Ponds. Working with geologists and ecologists from the project you will learn about how Ice Age Ponds were formed, why they are unique and how to record the geology and find and identify wildlife that can be found.

The training days will be run on:

  • Thursday 28th March – Credenhill Community Centre
  • Friday 29th March – Pembridge Village Hall
  • Sunday 14th April – Credenhill Community Centre
  • Saturday 11th May – Pembridge Village Hall

Morning – Indoor Session:

  • Introduction to the Ice Age in Herefordshire and the landforms it left behind
  • Introduction to Pond Ecology
  • Introduction to field survey techniques for Ecology and for Geology

Afternoon Session:

  • Practical demonstration and chance to have a go at doing Geological recording, substrate core samples using augers, GPS recording of water levels and water quality testing.
  • Practical demonstration of Ecological recording techniques, habitat mapping, dipping for invertebrates.


No previous experience of ecology or geology is necessary, full training in the use of GPS, water quality meters and pond survey techniques will be given.  The aim of the training is to provide volunteers with the skills necessary to complete pond surveys to collect data for the Ice Age Ponds project and help focus our more detailed investigations.

Training lasts from 10.00am – 4.00pm and all equipment, plus hot drinks and biscuits will be provided.  You will just need to bring suitable outdoor clothing and lunch.

These training sessions are all free but places are limited and booking is essential.  To book your place please email Project Manager David Hutton on d.hutton@herefordshirewt.co.uk


2. Articles for the EHT Annual Newsletter

Once again, I am looking for articles to represent EHT’s activity over the last year to put into our Annual Newsletter/Review for 2019.

If you can provide an article on any projects you have been a part of, to fill an A4 page or a double page spread, including a few illustrative photos/diagrams, please let me know as soon as possible; or if you feel you can offer a shorter article to go alongside another smaller one, please forward those too.

Please let me know if you are planning to submit an article so I can plan the pages, on email s.knox@worc.ac.uk

The deadline for articles is 1st April 2019. Many thanks. Sue Knox

3. EHT Resources’ Training Days.

Two such days have now been arranged at our offices at the University of Worcester on 9th February for members of the Teme Valley Geological Society and 14th February for the Malvern Hills sub-group of the Malvern U3A geology group.  Other requests to hold such a training day are welcome.  We plan to include using the collections of maps and geological literature held in the EHT offices and the use of Edina Digimap resources for air photos, geological and OS maps, historical OS maps and other data.  Participants can if they wish bring along ideas for places that they would like to research.


4. GeoExplore Deep Time App now available

GeoExplore now joins Voyager as the second app produced by the DeepTime Project.

GeoExplore is available for free for your Android or Apple phones and tablets, from Google Play* or the App Store.
GeoExplore is a fieldwork data recording app aimed primarily at geology students, but useful to anyone wishing to record location based data. The app toolset includes a clinometer, graphic logger, audio recorder, camera, grain size chart and various reference sources. All data is logged by location in the apps database. GeoExplore will automatically compose an email of your logged data and send it to recipients of your choice.


Within the app you may setup a field trip of your design, defining sites to investigate either before going into the field or whilst in the field. The app can also download ‘guided’ field trips which contain a map of suggested sites and tasks to carry out at those sites. Currently five guided field trips are available: Black Mountains (Sedimentary & Geomorphology), Lickey Hills (Structural), Martley (Palaeoenvironment & Structural), Wye Valley 1 (Lithology & Palaeoenvironment) and Wye Valley 2 (Mapping). Although these are ‘local’ the app can support field work and data recording at any location in the world.

The DeepTime website (www.deeptime.voyage) will shortly contain support materials for GeoExplore and associated field trips – along with details of how you can author your field trip to feature in the app. Details in the next newsletter.

*To ensure you find the correct GeoExplore on Google Play search for GeoExplore education. On the App Store (for Apple devices) GeoExplore is a unique app name.


5. Deep time Mailshot – Call for volunteers

Are you free for 2 hours on Friday 15th February 2019 from 10 am to 12 noon filling envelopes for a mailshot? If you can spare the time please let Allison know in the office on eht@worc.ac.uk. All other contact details at the end of the newsletter. Many thanks for your help.

6. Countrytastic 2019 – Call for volunteers

The 2019 Countrytastic show at the Three Counties Showground will take place this year on Thursday 18th April 2019. If you would like to come and visit us and / or volunteer to help out on the day for an hour or two please let Allison know in the office. All help will be much appreciated. Many thanks.

7. Tiddesley Wood Open Day 2019 – Call for volunteers

The 2019 Tiddesley Wood Open Day will take place on Sunday 5th May 2019. The EHT have a stand at this annual event with children’s activities, rock specimens, selling merchandise and trail guides. If you would like to come and visit us and / or volunteer to help out on the day for an hour or two please let Allison know in the office. It would be great to see you there. Many thanks.

8. Could you be a Geopark Way Warden?

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust is responsible for the Geopark Way; a geology and heritage trail now in its 10th year which starts in Bridgnorth, Shropshire and ends 109 miles away in Gloucester, travelling through Worcestershire and Herefordshire and skirting the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark.

There are 17 easy to walk sections of the Geopark Way which each need a warden to look after them. We are currently in need of people to look after the 4 Sections at the Gloucestershire end of the trail. Could this be you?

In a nutshell, what we need is people to walk each of the sections twice a year, to keep an eye on the state of the pathway, replace any missing signage, maybe snip a bit of overhanging foliage and to report back to the Geopark Way Project Officer.

The sections vary in length, landscape and geology so there’s a wide choice and anything you feel you could to do to help would be very much appreciated.

You will be supplied with the Geopark Way Guide pages for the section/s you are interested in walking along with A4 maps with more detail than those in the guide. You also get some Geopark Way pointers, description tags and nails, to replace any missing or old ones you may come across.

So, if you feel you could monitor a section or two of the Geopark Way for us on a fairly regular basis; at least twice a year, maybe with a friend if you prefer or if you know someone who might like to help us, please get in touch with Sue Knox, Geopark Way Project Officer at: s.knox@worc.ac.uk or through the H&W EHT office on 01905 855184

9. Emergency First Aid Training available

I’ve arranged another Emergency First Aid course on Tuesday 5th March at Warndon Community Centre Youth Hall from 9.30am – 4.30pm. This is open to volunteers and staff, but no more than 3 participants from any one organisation.

If anyone would like to attend please email: worcestercommunityaction@gmail.com

There is no cost although we do reserve the right to charge an organisation £20 for non-attendance without informing us.

Whilst light refreshments (tea / coffee / squash & biscuits) are provided, participants will need to make their own arrangements for lunch.

Sally Ellison, WCA.

10. WGCG Winter Lecture Programme: 2019

Meetings are held on Wednesdays (usually 3rd of the month) and start at 7.30 p.m. in St Francis Church Hall, 110 Warwick Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1HL unless otherwise stated. Tea / coffee and biscuits are available beforehand from 7.00 p.m.  Please check the WGCG website for any late, unforeseeable changes at http://www.wgcg.co.uk/talks/


  • 20th February 2019:  “Swimming Plesiosaurs and Flying Dinosaurs; Palaeontology at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham”-Dr. Adam Smith (including references to Chinese dinosaur discoveries).
  • 20th March 2019: “Analysing the Skeleton of a King” – Prof. Jane Evans (BGS) (isotope studies on the remains of Richard III, and the light this throws on the diet and lifestyle of a medieval monarch).
  • 17th April 2019: (provisionally) ‘The Geology of Norway’ -Chris Darmon (editor ‘Down to Earth’ magazine & proprietor of ‘Geosupplies’).


11. Teme Valley Geological Society (TVGS) Talks

Please find details of forthcoming TVGS evening talks held in Martley Memorial Hall (MMH). Talks commence at 7.30pm, fees are £3 for non-members and £1 for members.

  • Monday 11th February 2019 Nick Daffern ‘Palaeolithic Worcester’.
  • Saturday 16th March 2019 Field trip to glacial erratics of North Worcestershire and South Birmingham, and building stones in Birmingham City Centre.   Led by Ian Fairchild and Julie Schroder. Contact John Nicklin on 01886 888318 or visit: http://www.geo-village.eu/
  • Monday 18th March 2019 Roy Starkey ‘Minerals of the English Midlands’.
  • Monday 29th April 2019 TBC.
  • Monday 13th May 2019 Dr Will Tattersdill ‘Geology of the Imagination’.

For further information of the TVGS please visit www.geo-village.eu


12. Malvern U3A Geology Group

The Malvern U3A Geology Group meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Cube, Malvern, from 10.00 – 12.00 am. The entrance price is: £2.00

  • Wednesday 13th February 2019 – Rocks from Space – Dr Paul Olver.
  • Wednesday 13th March 2019 – What’s Underneath a Volcano? - Prof Kathy Cashman (Bristol University).
  • Wednesday 10th April 2019 – Geology, Origin and Celebrity of Shap Granite - Dr Nigel Woodcock (Cambridge University).


13. Woolhope Club

The Woolhope Club Geology Section meetings to be held in the “Woolhope Room” of the Library in Broad Street Hereford at 6.00pm for 6.30pm until 8.00pm. For further information of the Woolhope Club please visit www.woolhopeclub.org.uk

  • Friday 22nd Feb 2019 – AGM at 6.30 pm followed by Dinner at 7.30 pm at The Bunch of Carrots Inn, Hampton Bishop, Hereford. Details of costs to be advised soon.
  • Friday 22nd Mar 2019 – Oil and energy resources in the UK (title of talk to be arranged) with Dr. Tony Loy of Merlin Energy Co.


14. Black Country Geological Society (BCGS) Programme

BCGS indoor meetings are held at the Dudley Archives, Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ with a 7.30 for 8.00 pm start unless stated otherwise. Visitors welcome, but there will be a charge of £1.00. For further details please see the website: http://bcgs.info

  • Saturday 16th February 2019: (Geoconservation Day): Wren’s Nest. Directed by the reserve wardens. Meet at the Wardens’ office on the Mons Hill College ground at 10.30 am.
  • Monday 18th February 2019: (Indoor Meeting): ‘Turning Soil into Stone’. Speaker: Dr Steve Wilkinson, Senior Lecturer in Engineering Geology, University of Wolverhampton.
  • Saturday 2nd March 2019: (Geoconservation Day): Barrow Hill. Directed by Mark Williams. Meet at 10.30 am on Vicarage Lane off High Street, Pensnett (A4101).
  • Monday 18th March 2019: (Indoor Meeting, 7.00 for 7.30 pm start): AGM followed by ‘Rock along the Cut’. Speaker: Andrew Jenkinson.
  • Saturday 6th April 2019: (Field Meeting): ‘Quaternary of the Severn Valley in Shropshire’, led by David Pannett (Shropshire Geological Society). Meet at 10.30 am at Lyth Hill car park, GR: SJ476072.
  • Monday 15th April 2019: (Indoor Meeting):  ‘Europe’s Lost World: The Rediscovery of Doggerland’. Speaker: Professor Vince Gaffney MBE FSA, Anniversary Chair in Landscape Archaeology, University of Bradford.

15. Rock ‘n’ Gem Shows

These shows will be held at Cheltenham race course on 23rd and 24th March 2019.

For further details of these shows please visit the website: http://www.rockngem.co.uk/


16. Two Indoor Courses from Nick Chidlaw

I am currently offering two 1-day courses for next March; these are indoor-based, and describe field areas where I have run courses and trips in the past. These courses may be attractive to people who are not in a position to visit these areas e.g. insufficient time available because of family / work commitments, or health problems.

Details of each course is provided below.

Each course would comprise power point-based lectures, together with examination of hand specimens of relevant mineral and rock types, and published geological maps of the field areas. The hand specimens have been collected by the tutor in the field areas described.

A handout outlining the day’s programme containing sketch maps and other relevant drawings, stratigraphic tables and a list of optional reading, would be provided on each course. No prior knowledge of geology or the study areas would be assumed.

Please note that these courses are run on the same weekend and in the same venue, but are independent of one another – you can enrol on both if you wish to, or one of them, according to your interests / availability.

Venue for both courses: The Buckingham Room (single storey building by the car park) at The Chantry, 52 Castle Street, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire. BS35 1HB. See website for further details please visit: www.thechantry.org.uk

Nick Chidlaw will provide information on accommodation options to those who live beyond reasonable commuting distance. On each course, attendees would bring their own packed lunch and other refreshments, or go into the town for lunch.

Tuition Fee: £27.00 per person for each course.

Payment of Tuition Fee: Cheque payable to Nick Chidlaw, should be sent to 8 Silver Street, Dursley, Glos. GL11 4ND. Bank Trans can be arranged if required. (Please let Nick know).

Deadline date for viability of both courses: Saturday 16th February (4 weeks before the courses are due to run).

Both courses to have a minimum of 10 attendees / fee equivalent. Maximum of 30 attendees on each course. If viability for either or both courses is reached, those enrolled will be informed on the deadline date and arrangements will be able to continue. Further enrolments can be made up to 1 week before the courses are due to run. If the minimum number of attendees / fee equivalent is not reached for either course by the deadline, that course will be cancelled and fees received will be returned to those who have sent them in.

Any queries, do get in touch with the tutor nickchidlaw@gmail.com

Course details:


Saturday 16th March 10.00 am – 5.00 pm

Many tectonic plate collision zones around the world contain ‘terranes’: regions of crust with well-defined boundaries, that differ significantly in their geological development from neighbouring regions. Ancient long-since stabilised collision zones globally are often composed of a set of interlocking (often fault-bounded) terranes, each of which originated in different places and had different tectonic histories, but which were progressively amalgamated into the  arrangement seen today. The crust of the British Isles is composed of a number of such terranes, brought together by plate collisions that culminated in the ‘Caledonian Orogeny’ (mountain-building episode, Early Silurian – Mid Devonian times). On this course, we trace one of these terrane boundaries along the Highland Border of Scotland between the Isle of Bute (near Glasgow) in the west, to Stonehaven (near Aberdeen) on the east coast. We will look at the character of the two terranes involved, the nature of the boundary between them, evidence for when the terranes were separated, and for when they finally became joined.


Sunday 17th March 10.00 am – 5.00 pm

This indoor day focuses on the geology of the small relatively inaccessible islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm, located in the Bristol Channel between Weston super Mare and Cardiff. The islands, on which rock exposures are widespread, are composed of a variety of chiefly fossil-rich tropical marine shelf and lagoonal limestones of Carboniferous age, deformed by major earth movements during that geological period. Stratal dips of up to 70 degrees occur, and both large-scale and small-scale folds are present, together with thrust and reverse faults. Later, in Middle Jurassic times, crustal extension permitted hot saline mineralizing fluids to rise into fissures on what is now Steep Holm, forming veins of galena and baryte.  The bedrock geology underlying the Bristol Channel around the islands and between Weston and Cardiff will be described, providing a basis for establishing the geological history of the islands; this includes such contrasts as their presence as discrete limestone hills within desert lake flats during Late Triassic times, and their location either side of a deep ravine containing the River Severn 10,000 years ago.


17. Mineral Extraction in Worcestershire

Messing about with Worcestershire’s rocks, whether they be hard granites or soft quaternary deposits, is a strictly controlled process, as I discovered when I started to become involved in it. Worcestershire County Council is the Mineral Planning Authority, and is responsible for making decisions on all planning applications for mineral development in Worcestershire. They are currently conducting a fourth and final consultation on their “Minerals Local Plan” that sets out the long-term planning strategy for mineral development in Worcestershire to 2035 and beyond. Much of the content of this article is taken from the plan, which can be viewed in full at:


H&WEHT is appointed as consultee in this planning process to ensure that the interests of geoconservation are taken into account. As a member of the Minerals Green Infrastructure Steering Group, the HWEHT works with other interest groups such as the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, to ensure that the net consequences of mineral extraction are beneficial to our natural and cultural heritage at a landscape level.

The minerals sector contributes around £6m to Worcestershire’s economy, so what are the useful minerals to be found there and how important are they commercially? Worcestershire has no resources of exotic minerals, such as gold and silver or even iron ore, but it is a net exporter of sand and gravel and produces 3% of national supplies of brick clay. In this newsletter, I will focus on the mineral resources of the county. In a future newsletter, I will explain the multi-faceted planning process with a particular focus, of course on geo-conservation interests.

Solid sand comes from the “New Red Sandstones” deposited in the Triassic period by the ancient Buddliensis River that brought sediment from the mountains created by the Variscan orogeny to the south of Britain. The climate was arid and tropical, so the iron in the sand grains was oxidised, giving the rock its deep red colour. The Wildmoor Sandstone Formation in the north-east of the county, which is up to 284m thick, is currently being quarried (see photo above). It is used for building-sand and mortar as well as some specialist ‘silica sand’ for industrial use, which comes from a fine-grained horizon within the Wildmoor sandstone.

Brick clay from Worcestershire is valued for its rich red colour. It is obtained from the Triassic Mercia Mudstone Group, which is very widespread and abundant in Worcestershire. The two active sites near Hartlebury can currently produce more than 2 million bricks per week in addition to a range of clay pipes and tiles.

Crushed rock is another valuable resource that is used mainly for road stone, railway ballast and for concrete and construction aggregates. Worcestershire has plenty of hard rock suitable for crushing, but almost all of it occurs in the Malvern Hills and Cotswolds Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). For this reason, Worcestershire has now arranged to obtain its supplies of crushed rock from nearby counties. Many of the rock faces we can examine today, however are only visible thanks to quarrying works of the past (see photo above).

Sand and gravel from the Quaternary river terraces of the Rivers Severn, Avon and Carrant Brook are used mainly for concrete. These deposits are not very deep, typically up to 6m, but may be up to 10m in Severn terraces and 20m in places where hollows have been infilled. Clearly the thinnest of these are not commercially exploitable. There is overwhelming demand from the building industry for sand and gravel, and national policy requires it to be sourced locally to minimise demand on transport infrastructure.  Many conflicting interests are taken into account when deciding which resources to exploit. Geo-conservation is a significant concern for the Severn and Avon river terraces, which are regarded as internationally important phenomena. The geodiversity issues will be discussed in a future newsletter.

Two other mineral resources deserve a brief mention. Salt and brine has historically been extracted from the Droitwich Halite member. This is part of the Mercia Mudstone Group and represents a period in the Triassic when the area was particularly arid. Salt-bearing fluids were brought to the surface from depth and evaporated, leaving beds of solid salt up to 11m thick. Extraction of rock salt ceased in the 1970’s and the extraction of edible salt from brine ceased when the old brine baths closed in 2008.

No viable sources of energy minerals have been identified in Worcestershire. Although the Wyre Forest and South Staffordshire coalfields extend into the north of the county, and could in theory yield carbonaceous fuels (see photo left), but none are now considered viable and all mining operations ceased in the 1970’s.

You may also be interested to know that “although coal-bearing and shale strata exist in the county, there is no evidence to suggest that these contain unconventional hydrocarbons such as shale gas.” It seems that there is no imminent threat of fracking in this area.

Green energy sources are however being encouraged:  as the Local Minerals Plan states: “there are numerous installations in Worcestershire generating energy from household, agricultural, and horticultural waste. These include landfill gas engines and anaerobic digestion plants which produce biogas from organic material.

The planning process takes diverse inter-related factors into account, including the views of interest groups such as ours. Next month I will focus on our role in the process and the ways in which the interests of geoconservation can be pursued through co-operation with the minerals industry.

All photos in this article are reproduced in the Worcestershire Local Minerals Plan, acknowledging the H&W EHT as their source.

Kay Hughes, EHT


If you have anything you would like to include in our next monthly update please forward to eht@worc.ac.uk by 1st March 2019.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust, Geological Records Centre,

University of Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester, WR2 6AJ.

Tel: 01905 855184, Email: eht@worc.ac.uk