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Lickey heritage rocks

Posted on August 18 2011 at 2:07:49

Eve Miles shows visitors the quarry

An important heritage site has been unveiled on the slopes of the Lickey Hills in Cofton Hackett, writes Mary Green.

Hidden away in woodland, a new experience based on it was officially opened at the end of July. The Lickey Hills Champion Sites are part of the Community Earth Heritage Champions Project in Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

In this, important sites that show the geology of the counties have been identified by geologists, and cleared up by groups of local volunteers who will go on to maintain them and offer them to the community for information and interest.

In the Lickeys, an old quarry by Barnt Green Road has been cleared, exposing the fascinating history of the landscape. You can see clearly where the rocks have folded, on the boundary of the Barnt Green volcanic area and the Lickey quartzite rocks.

There will be new guided walks from the Lickey Hills Visitor Centre, taking in key geological features on the way to the quarry.

Another quarry in Warren Lane, higher up in the Lickeys, will be available by appointment for groups who want to study the rocks further.

Not only did these rocks shape the Lickeys, but they give rise to the great crop of bilberries, an interesting range of trees, and a history including barrage balloons and target practice for wartime guns.

The local champions will have a website, and hope to involve local schools in the project. Eve Miles, the project leader, is excited by what the quarry has revealed. It is adding new information to their knowledge of the 488-million-year history of these hills.

The Earth Heritage Trust seeks out, finds and maintains important geological sites in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. They are a trust coordinating the work of several partners, including the University of Worcester, the county councils and other community and private bodies. One of their great achievements is the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark with its fascinating trail through the hills.

In the Lickeys project, there are four champions currently. I met Bryan Maybee and Julie Schroder, who have both worked with the Heritage Trust for some time and were delighted to be able to work on a project close to home.

They were particularly grateful to the Lickey park rangers who have contributed hugely to the project, through the clearing of the site and also through their in-depth knowledge of the area. Even the Fire Service helped, by hosing down the rock face to remove scree and expose the underlying rocks.

The Trust’s next project is to set up Earthquake Watch sites in Worcester and the Wyre Forest, where people can see live footage of earthquake activities round the world and relate them to geological knowledge.

They would have liked to set one up in the Lickeys but couldn’t secure the funding. The Lickeys are on a fault line and would at one time been a site of volcanic and earthquake activity.

You can find out more about the Trust’s work at: http://www.EarthHeritageTrust.org

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