Earlier this year, EHT designated a further five sites in Herefordshire as ‘regionally important’ for geology and a further two in Worcestershire. All seven sites have been added to the lists of Local Geological Sites (LGS) held by the Biological Records Centres of the respective counties, which means that their value to geology must be taken into account in planning decisions. Special measures may be required for any development on or near the site, ideally through agreement with the landowner.

In the extreme west of Herefordshire, both the Cat’s Back and The Darens sites were designated as Local Geological Sites. Devonian Old Red Sandstone is well exposed at these sites and a variety of landscape features are displayed. The sites are located on open access land from the Olchon Valley on the eastern edge of the Black Mountains. They can be visited via mountain paths that are steep and muddy at times, but offer wonderful views of the Herefordshire countryside. Their geological features are excellently described in the Cat’s Back Deep Time Voyager App. For details see our ‘Sites to Visit’ page.

Two of the sites studied in the Ice Age Ponds project have been selected for designation as LGS.

At the Medlands, Park Farm site, a kettle hole pond was formed by melting ice at the end of the Devensian Ice Age roughly 15,000 years ago. Unlike many examples of kettle hole ponds within this part of Herefordshire, this pond contains peat deposits with preserved pollen grains that can be dated and has remained unmodified by farmers. It is scientifically important because it provides information on both the landscape formation at the end of the last ice age and the subsequent changing climate and vegetation history for this part of Herefordshire. It is located on private land and access to the site is through agreement with the landowners.

The second Ice Age Pond site, at Norton Wood Orchard is a field containing no fewer than five depressions, formed at the fringes of historical Lake Letton by means that are as yet not fully understood. The field has undergone minimal alteration through farming practices, making it particularly valuable to science. It was purchased by the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust in 2021 and provides an excellent place for the general public to see Ice Age Ponds.

Look out for further information about this ‘site to visit’ in future editions of the newsletter.

The fifth Herefordshire site to receive LGS status is Upper Hall Farm Quarry. Located near to Ledbury, it is an impressive site, with massive near-horizontal beds of Much Wenlock Limestone topped by beds of more nodular Lower Ludlow Shale. It is the only site that exposes the transition from Wenlock to Ludlow rocks in the south of Herefordshire. The quarry is on private land so that access requires the owner’s permission, but group visits are a distinct possibility here.

The two Worcestershire sites to be designated as LGS are in the Lickey Hills, the Type Area for the Lickey Quartzite Formation. Thrusting has forced these hard Ordovician age rocks up from depth to form an inlier among the surrounding, younger rocks. Both sites show clear evidence of various forms of deformation in the Lickey Quartzite, resulting from this tectonic activity. They have been meticulously documented by Alan Richardson, highlighting their importance to science and education.

There is unrestricted access to Kendal End Quarry via a few wooden steps leading from the footpath. Its small size makes it suitable for visits by the public and school parties alike. Faults in the Ordovician Lickey Quartzite are exposed on this gently inclined rock face, and are described by Alan in his article on the Champions website. https://ehtchampions.org.uk/ch/its-not-my-fault-a-re-evaluation-of-structures-in-kendal-end-quarry/

The towering main face of the central quarry at Rose Hill Quarries presents a dramatic slice through Rednal Hill. It offers the viewer an insight into the scale of the geology underlying the Lickey Ridge, and an appreciation of the tectonic forces involved in fault movements. Details of what can be seen at this site are outlined in Alan’s article on the Champions web site. https://ehtchampions.org.uk/ch/faults-in-rose-hill-quarry/ . Access is by arrangement with the Lickey Hills Country Park Rangers who hold the key to the access gate.