Exposed Units: Malvern Complex, Malvern Quartzite, Hollybush Sandstone

Conservation Status: Site of Special Scientific Interest

The Hollybush Quarries comprises three quarries: Slasher’s Quarry (which is described in a separate entry) and Hollybush Quarry are two very large disused quarries that lie on the Herefordshire – Worcestershire boundary; Middle Hollybush Quarry is a smaller working quarry that lies in between the larger quarries. Hollybush Quarry is the easternmost quarry and has its main entrance in Worcestershire. Slashers Quarry and Middle Hollybush Quarry lie to the west of Hollybush Quarry and are situated on private land in Herefordshire.

The complex presents some of the best and most extensive exposures of Malverns Complex meta-igneous rocks in the Malvern Hills.

Middle Hollybush Quarry

This is a small subsidiary quarry between Slashers Quarry and Hollybush Quarry. It exposes the basal Malvern Quartzite, which occurs in a faulted sliver that runs north-south and overlies the intermediate igneous rocks of the Malverns Complex. The quartzite is tough, pale grey, and locally pebbly and conglomeratic.

Hollybush Quarry

A fault running north-south on the western side of this quarry has brought the Malvern Quartzite down to lie alongside the Malvern Complex. Exposures in this block in show the unconformable sedimentary boundary of the Malvern Quartzite, where it lies directly on the granite and intermediate rocks of the Malverns Complex.


Ultrabasic rock – Igneous rocks that dominantly contain minerals made up of iron and magnesium. They contain very little silica and so never contain the mineral quartz.

Limonite – Generic term used to describe hydrous (water-bearing) or anhydrous (non-water bearing) oxides of iron that cannot easily be differentiated from each other because of similarities in their physical characteristics. Usually, but not exclusively, limonite refers to the mineral ‘goethite’.


View of Hollybush Quarry looking east.

The unconformable contact between the Malverns Complex and Malvern Quartzite at Middle Hollybush Quarry.











Jones, R.K., Brooks, M., Bassett, M.G., Austin, R.L. and Aldridge, R.J., 1969, ‘An Upper Llandovery limestone overlying Hollybush Sandstone (Cambrian) in Hollybush Quarry, Malvern Hills’. Geological Magazine, vol. 106, 5, pp. 457-469.

Moorlock, B.S.P., 1986, Geological notes and local details for 1:10 000 sheets: SO 73NE (South Malvern Hills). British Geological Survey report, London.

Penn, J.S.W., and French, J., 1971, ‘The Malvern Hills’ Geologists’ Association Guide, Geologists’ Association.

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