Shavers End Quarry
Aymestry Limestone and Lower Ludlow Shales
Conservation Status: Local Geological Site
Shavers End Quarry is one of many quarries in the area located on the Abberley Hills, where the limestone is a sought after material for lime kilns, construction and the aggregates industry. Quarrying activity at Shavers End Quarry has sliced through the North West corner of Abberley Hill, providing a geological cross section for people to study the structure of the area in detail. The scale of the site, partnered with the bare rock faces allows visitors to fully appreciate the complex tectonic history of the area. Within the quarry there are two distinct rock formations exposed; the Lower Ludlow Shales Group and the Aymestry Limestone Formation.
The Lower Ludlow Shales Group is the lower of the two units and consists of a series of siltstones and bluish grey mudstones. These rocks can be best seen at the southern end of the quarry, as well as on the eastern banks of the quarry lakes. The Aymestry Limestone is a blue-grey, nodular argillaceous limestone and forms the main rock face that extends along the western side of the quarry. The limestone is shaly and impure and notably contains a thick band of bentonite.
Shavers End Quarry sits variably in the hinge zone and on the overturned limb of a large fold. The Lower Ludlow Shales and Aymestry Limestone at this locality are upside-down, suggested by the wrong-way-up orientation of fossils and other sedimentary structures. The age of folding has been the subject of much debate, with many different interpretations; it may have formed during the Variscan Orogeny (~300 million years ago); others suggested that folding occurred during the earlier Caledonian Orogeny (390 million years ago). However it is generally agreed that folding was instigated by thrust faulting on the East Malvern Fault system.
This site is part of the Community Earth Heritage Champions Project.
Bentonitic clay – Volcanic ash that has been chemically altered to form a type of clay.
Fold – Geological structure formed by the flexure of rock units, forming two fold limbs, separated by a hinge zone; rocks are literally folded.
Overturned limb – An arm of a fold that has been turned upside-down.
Orogeny – A period of mountain building.
View of the back face of Shaver’s End Quarry circa 2004.
Mitchell, G.H., Pocock, R.W. and Taylor, J.H., 1962, ‘Geology of the country around Droitwich, Abberley and Kidderminster’, Memoirs of the British Geological Survey, British Geological Survey. London.