Exposed Units: Woolhope Limestone Formation

Conservation Status: Site of Special Scientific Interest

Rudge End Quarry is one of many small quarries situated on the Woolhope Dome inlier, an area of distinct hills to the south east of Hereford. Rudge End Quarry is on the southern side of the dome and rocks belonging to the Woolhope Limestone Formation outcrop within the site.

The rock face is approximately 110m in length and extends along the eastern edge of the site. The site is divided in two by a 2m drop in the middle section and this separates the northern rock face from the southern. Both rock faces are approximately 3m in height, apart from at the very bottom of the site where more of the quarry floor has been excavated, increasing the quarry face exposure to 6m.

The limestones found within the quarry are characterised by being nodular in appearance and are clay rich. Beds of limestones are interbedded with fine grained, rubbly siltstones. The northern rock face contains large beds of limestone with very thin rubbly siltstones at the base. The southern rock face also contains these large limestone beds, but there are less rubbly siltstones present.

Within the scree slopes found at the base of the northern rock face and on the slope opposite the rock face, marine fossils can be found. These include brachiopods and trilobites, as well as solitary and colonial corals.

In the northern rock face there is a small strike-slip fault, with slickensides present on the fault plane. These are present upon the fault plane indicating that there was a slight vertical movement, as well as horizontal movement. This is one of many faults in the area and is consistent with others that are nearby in the respect that it has a NE-SW orientation. This fault is parallel to the Rudge End Fault which is a complex fracture that separates the hills of Haugh Wood and Broadmoor Common.

This site is part of the Community Earth Heritage Champions Project.


Inlier – An area of older rocks surrounded by younger rocks.

Fault – A line of weakness within the Earth’s crust along which movement and displacement occurs.

Strike-slip fault – A fault with the dominant component of displacement being lateral rather vertical.

Slickensides – Groves on a fault plane caused by frictional movement between rocks along the two sides of a fault. The direction of the grooves indicate the direction of the fault movement.



General View of exposure.

Well-bedded, nodular limestones of the Woolhope Limestone Formation.

Beds of the Woolhope Limestone Formation (looking East).









Solitary coral fossil found in the scree at Rudge End Quarry.










Aldridge, R. et al. 2000, British Silurian Stratigraphy, Geological Conservation Review Series Volume 19. Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

British Geological Society. 2001, Ross-on-Wye, England and Wales Series Sheet 215. Solid and Drift.

Herefordshire Nature Trust, 2003, Herefordshire Nature Trust Reserves Guide, Fifth Edition.  Herefordshire Nature Trust, Lower House Farm, Hereford.

Squirrell, H.C. and Tucker, E.V. 1960, The geology of the Woolhope inlier (Herefordshire), Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, vol.116, 2, pp.139-185.

Woodcock, N. and Strachan, R. 2000, Geological History of Britain and Ireland, Blackwell Scientific Publications.

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