The Champions Project began way back in 2009, with local volunteers recruited to preserve and promote carefully chosen geological sites. At the end of each year Champions are asked to send us a report of their activities, and the result reveals a thriving community and a wide range of on-going activities. From conservation and preservation to public and private outreach events, new research, discovery, and publication, our Earth Heritage Champions are making a mark!

The following report by Jim Handley is the second in a series to showcase the work of the Champions. 

 Julie Schroder, EHT Champions Coordinator

Another Year as EHT Champion for the Dowards

By Jim Handley

Where has that last year gone! I led two group visits during 2022 and it would have been three but Covid meant I had to postpone a visit in October from the Teme Valley Geology Group. Hopefully they will make it next year.

Dowards Walk

In August a dozen of our local Monmouth U3A group had a walk around Great Doward focusing on the caves (some visible and others out of sight on the gorge cliffs) and remains of surface mine workings. With temperatures around 30° we were grateful for the tree canopy.

Great Doward. Water-cut cliffs and embryonic caves left high above the current water level.

In late September I again led a walk for the Ross Walking Festival. Although numbers were well down on previous years, the 6 visitors enjoyed themselves and maybe learnt a bit of geology.

We continue to keep our exposed piece of limestone pavement clear. It may not be very extensive but tells a good tale being the remains of a Carboniferous reef with some fine examples of colonial fossils.

Earlier in the year I had a coffee session with the Woodland Trust manager for Little Doward. It helps that he has some interest in geology. He also lent me his copy of an Ecological and Historical Assessment of Little Doward, 1999. Clearly focused on plants and historical land use, it made for interesting reading and did have some appropriate references to the underlying geology.

I’m looking forward to further activities next year, including a visit from members of the BCGS (Black Country Geological Society) in May 2023. As we go to press I now have four  walks arranged with different groups for 2023.