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 Peter Bridges is the first of a series to showcase the work of the Champions.
Julie Schroder, EHT Champions Coordinator
Champions Report on North and Tank Quarries, November 2022
By Peter Bridges
1. Current State of the Site
As reported last year, the site is generally in good condition as it contains two public car parks for visitors to the northern Malvern Hills and is much of it is maintained by the Malvern Hills Trust. However, in some areas not normally visited by the general public, vegetation growth this year has again been rampant.
2. Geosite Maintenance
Every year a team of volunteers from Malvern U3A Geology Section carry out a programme of site clearance at North and Tank Quarries – and some small nearby sites – under work programmes agreed with the Malvern Hills Trust (MHT) and the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (MHAONB). This work was organised by John Payne. During the last year, this exercise took place on 22 January 2022 and it was detailed by John in his report to the EHT Board in June 2022 – see the extract copied below:
North Malvern Quarries
A regular element of the work for the Malvern Hills Trust in recent years has been a day spent in ‘refreshing’ several of the major quarries around the northern hills, North Hill and the Worcestershire Beacon. These are the quarries most visited by geological parties so this work provides good benefits for the use of the sites. The annual clearance visits to many of the sites means that a small amount of work each year can maintain the locations in good condition with the key features well exposed..
This year seven quarries were covered in this way, North Quarry, the North Malvern Reservoir Quarry (henceforth to be known as Waterworks Quarry), Tank Quarry, Westminster Quarry, Dingle Quarry, Wyche Cutting South Quarry and Gardiner’s Quarry.
6.1 North Quarry
The North Quarry is well known as a good source of a variety of rocks from the Malverns Complex. These samples may be found on the extensive scree slopes. The work here therefore involved the removal of vegetation from the lower and accessible scree. Buddleia, in particular, is well established here.
6.2. Waterworks Quarry
This small quarry in Rocky Valley, between the two main quarries, shows part of an important thrust fault system which is apparently responsible for the existence of the valley and the layout of North Hill and the surrounding smaller summits. Of probably Variscan age, it has brought to the same level the somewhat different rock types of the main quarries. These appear to have been formed in separate regions of the Precambrian pluton.
The south face of this quarry shows other, smaller faults and, with the west face, a range of rock types. The work here cleaned parts of these faces and has provided easy access. The east and west faces remain largely obscured and appear to be worthy of clearance.
6.3 Tank Quarry
Most of the Tank Quarry is barred to public access on Health and Safety grounds because of occasional rock falls. However, many of the most interesting features in the quarry lie around the car parking area. The low north-eastern face with breccia and barite deposits was cleared of vegetation. The view of the granite intrusion in the north-western face was much enhanced by the removal of part of a large buddleia tree. Finally the view over the Severn Valley from the upper level by the road was maintained by the removal of brambles and saplings.
There are a number of noticeboards in the site – displaying information on the geology, biology and botany of the area. These are generally in good condition but are, quite naturally, beginning to show their age. No action is required at present. The situation is being monitored.
4. Preparation of a Geological Guide
Work continues on producing an updated Guide to the Geology of the Malvern Area with the Geologist’s Association (GA) – as reported last year.
5. Public Events
In May 2022, the History of Geology Group (HOGG) held a meeting Malvern and a number of attendees were shown around the North and Tank Quarries.
The only other site visit during the year was a visit by 13 members of the Malvern U3A Geology Section on 8 June 2022.