• Local GAPs

Slide Show

January 2019 news and update

Happy New Year and welcome to the first EHT news and update for 2019.

1. Geoheritage of Glacial Erratics

Ian Fairchild and Ella Young, together with Elizabeth Matka of the Friends of Cotteridge Park gave a talk on 11th December to the Birmingham Open Spaces Forum about the Geoheritage of the large glacial erratics in the city and the social history related to Cotteridge Park.  Most of the erratics came from the Arenig area of North Wales.  Whilst the previous lecture was to a closed audience, Ian is giving an open and geologically focused lecture on this topic to the Lapworth Society at the Lapworth Museum, University of Birmingham on Monday February 18th at 5 p.m.


2. 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.


3. Conserving Herefordshire’s Ice Age Ponds

This Heritage Lottery-funded project is starting to wind up following the appointment of Beth Andrews as EHT project officer and David Hutton as project manager at the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.  Ian Fairchild has been working on producing maps of the area and Beth and Ian are running a geological training course for staff involved in the project as a result of which we are now able to make a first call for volunteers to help with the project.   If you are interested in both ecology and geology and would be interested in working in a small team surveying pond sites then please contact the EHT office.  If you would like to find out more about the ice-age geology, but are not so interested in the ecology, there will definitely still be opportunities to be involved in surveying or perhaps in sediment coring.  One group who have already expressed interest are the Leominster U3A geology group to whom Ian is talking about the project in February with plans for a field visit in March with Beth and Ian.


4. A New Voyage App for the Malverns

During the autumn of 2018 work began on a new app for the Malverns as part of the ‘Voyager’ series. The app will cover the Malverns ridge from the Wyche Cutting  as far as Pinnacle Hill, starting and returning to the Wyche Geocentre via a circular (elliptical, actually) route.  Although the ridge itself here is a well walked route, it is not part of the Geopark Way, and no current trail guide specifically covers this part of the central Malverns.

The text is designed to appeal to a wide audience, including younger people and visitors to the Malverns. Nevertheless, the app will have a strong geological and landscape flavour, and will also embrace other points of archaeological or historical interest.

The layout of the app will follow the Voyager structure by focussing on a number of ‘sites’, the most important of which have been chosen to encourage people to learn about the geology underlying the spectacular views east and west of the Malverns, as well as those northwards towards the Worcestershire Beacon, and southwards towards the Herefordshire Beacon. Other points described along the route will include the Wyche spout, the medieval Shire ditch, the railway tunnels, and the Iron Age fort at British Camp, King Charles’ Thirds Wood, and the Ballard memorial on Jubilee Drive. Attention will also be drawn to the unusual concrete boulder (masquerading as a rock) lying halfway between the Wyche cutting and Perseverance Hill. This is the remains of the base of a sighting post erected in 1856 to guide the alignment of the Victorian railway tunnel, excavated with great difficulty through the Hills.

All this will be backed up, of course, by the excellent interpretative materials and refreshment available at the Geocentre and its café. It is anticipated that the app will become available on Apple and Android platforms by the end of January 2019.

Dick Bryant, January 2019

5. Advance notice – EHT AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Earth Heritage Trust is going to be held at the Talbot at Knightwick, Worcestershire, on Saturday 8th June. The report of the year will be followed by a buffet lunch and a local field excursion.  All are welcome (although only members can vote).


6. 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&WEHT office on 01905 855184


7. 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/


  • 16th January: ‘The Wren’s Nest’ –Graham Worton (Curator at Dudley Archive) (geology of this celebrated nature reserve in Dudley, and the application for Unesco Geopark status).
  • 20th February:  “Swimming Plesiosaurs and Flying Dinosaurs; Palaeontology at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham”-Dr. Adam Smith (including references to Chinese dinosaur discoveries).
  • 20th March: “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: (provisionally) ‘The Geology of Norway’ -Chris Darmon (editor ‘Down to Earth’ magazine & proprietor of ‘Geosupplies’).


8. 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 21st January 2019- Prof. Ian Fairchild – The Ice Age in Worcestershire and prospective TVGS research on the origin of the Teme Valley.
  • Monday 11th February 2019- Nick Daffern – Palaeolithic Worcester.

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


9. 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: £2.00

  • Wednesday 9th January 2019 – Plate Tectonic Mechanics and Processes – Dr Marco Maffione (Birmingham University).
  • 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).


10. 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 25th Jan 2019 – From Martley to Mozambique – a tale of two coals with Dr. Bill Barclay.
  • 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.


11. Countrytastic 2019

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.


12. Tiddesley Wood Open Day 2019

The 2019 Tiddesley Wood Open Day will take place on Sunday 5th May 2019. The EHT regularly have a stand at this 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 please let Allison know in the office. Many thanks.


13. Rock n Gem Shows

These shows will be held at Chepstow race course on 26th and 27th January 2019 and 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/


14. Herdman Symposium 2019 – Inside Out: a Journey From the Centre of the Earth

To be held on Saturday 16th February 2019 – registration from 9.30 am, talks from 10.00 am, held at the Central Teaching Hub at the University of Liverpool. This year the talks promise a fantastic insight into contemporary advances in the Earth Sciences.

Presentations (from 10am-5pm) include:

  • Dr. Chris Davies (Leeds) – Core/ Mantle boundary
  • Prof. Chris Ballentine – (Oxford) Deep mantle
  • Prof. Yan Lavallee  (Liverpool)  Volcanoes and experiments
  • Prof. Jennifer McElwain – (Trinity, Dublin) Palaeobotany
  • Dr. Sarah Boulton (Plymouth) –  Active Neo- tectonics: Moroccan High Atlas
  • Dr. Joel Davis (Natural History Museum, London) – ExoMars – Planetary geology

Ticket Price of £15.00 includes Talks, Abstracts, Refreshments, Buffet Lunch and Wine Reception. (Reductions for students, members of the Herdman Society and School/ College groups).

Advance Registration Essential - please go to https://tinyurl.com/Herdman2019 for more information about the talks and to register and pay. The online store should allow multiple registrations as part of a single booking.


15. 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.


16. Friends Gift Aid Forms

As a Friend of the EHT, if you have not already done so, please remember to return your gift aid form to the EHT Office at the address below. Your help is much appreciated.


17. Volunteering for the Earth Heritage Trust

If you have some spare time and would like to get involved with the EHT at future events for a couple of hours or half a day or so, please do let us know and we can add you to our list of volunteers to contact in the future.

If you would like to volunteer please contact Allison at the EHT office. Tel: 01905 855184 or email: eht@worc.ac.uk Many thanks.


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