At the end of each year Champions groups are asked to write a report for the EHT on the state of their sites, and send news of any activities which have taken place or are planned.  Champion for North and Tank Quarries, Peter Bridges, has gone the extra mile with this comprehensive report, and we are delighted to share it with all the readers of the EHT’s monthly news update.

Julie Schroder, (Champions Co-ordinator)

North and Tank Quarries lie at the northern end of the Malvern Hills – see Fig. 1 below.

 Figure 1. The Northern Limit of the Malvern Hills showing North and Tank Quarries.

The dashed yellow line is the outline of a new geological excursion around the quarries, this is described in Section 4 below.

1.Current State of the Site

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 been rampant.

2. Site Clearance

No large-scale clearance has been undertaken during the year but some areas, where views of outcrops of particular interest have been obscured, have been cleared in short ad hoc campaigns

Figures 2 & 3 below show a “before” and “after” view of one site on the east wall of Tank Quarry where a narrow granitic sill intrudes massive diorite. Clearance was not difficult as the vegetation was mainly soft new growth and bramble shoots hanging down over the outcrop were easily removed with secateurs.

A more extensive exercise, the removal of a large buddleia, is planned for the winter. This will allow the site to be examined more closely. A date for this work has yet to be set.

Figure 2. ‘ Before’

Figure 3. ‘After’

3. Noticeboards

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 apart from one which is in a wooded area and therefore usually in shade. This slows down drying after rain, maintains damp conditions for longer than elsewhere and some deterioration is apparent. The situation is being monitored.

4. Preparation of a Geological Guide

A small group from the Malvern U3A Geology Group have been working on producing an updated Guide to the Geology of the Malvern Areas with the Geologist’s Association (GA) -no GA Guide has been prepared since that by Penn and French in 1970.

These guides follow a similar format giving an outline to the geology of the area studied and presenting a series of excursions which take the reader from one locality to another, explaining the particular features present at each locality and outlining how these fit into the overall geology of the area.

The excursion covering North and Tank Quarries is in a near-final draft, but is still a private document and is not for publication or general circulation. The excursion takes approximately 2 hours. I hope to use this for an update to the website but will first have to work out a protocol to cater for the GA and EHT areas of interest.

5. Expansion of the Area of Interest

One outcome of this is that it makes sense to expand the Champion’s area for North and Tank Quarries and I have included two small quarries – Waterworks and Rocky Valley Quarry.

6. Geological Mapping

Another outcome of the work on the GA Guide has been the realisation that the descriptions of the different outcrops and structures mentioned in the text would be enhanced with the addition of some relatively simple localised geological maps. Various formats have been explored and the first of these will be tackled in the coming months.

7. Public Events

Two events took place during the summer:

  • Twenty people from the Malvern U3A visited North and Tank Quarries on 23 June and followed the route laid out in a forthcoming excursion currently in draft form.
  • Twelve members of the Dorset Geological Association visited on 3 September and followed a similar route.

I acted as a guide to both groups.

By Peter Bridges.