Tuesday, 12 February 2008

A plea for Tedbury Camp near Frome, Somerset

Hugh Prudden has written the following:-
The Somerset Geology Group hopes to get a grant to improve Tedbury Camp quarry near Frome.
You may know that there is a joint initiative (Natural England, UKRIGS, Geology Trusts and various funding bodies) to make funds available for improving sites. Tedbury is surely deserving removal of invasive scrub on the Inferior Oolite and the Carboniferous Limestone face. The latter is now inaccessible and is a superb place for students to log the bed by bed succession which we did years ago with the Devonshire Association to great effect. The steep eroded footpath is hazardous. Also some discrete signposts are needed.
The eye-catching unconformity is of course an important feature but we really should draw attention to the alternative approach via the footpath alongside the Mells River: a cave, superb bedding plain, a curious fold/thrust/slump (?), Dolomitic Conglomerate and the gorge-like valley itself are integral and important features of the locality. It also provides an alternative easier access.
David Roche of David Roche-GeoConsulting, has offered to put in an application on a kind of no-win-no-fee basis. I have expressed delight with this offer as, to be honest, I have neither time nor energy to become too involved in the bureaucratic aspects.
I am sure you will all agree that Tedbury deserves funding and restoration. At the same time the famous De la Beche quarry face down the valley needs management.
Are people aware of the viewing platform at nearby Holwell? (ST 723454) There is parking for a minibus on the corner of the Whatley-Holwell road just north of the junction with the A361. Follow the path to NNW for a few hundred yards and the platform is on the right. There is a splendid panorama of the large quarry and the famous unconformity can be picked out as it undulates around the edge of the worked-out area. In the distance, on a clear day, one can see Cley Hill, near Warminster, where Tertiary Clay-with-flints lies on top of the Chalk. Where else can you get such a sense of geological time and events in one view? Make your own time chart of the events. The photograph shows steeply dipping Carboniferous Limestone truncated by the undulating unconformity above which can be seen the yellow horizontal Inferior Oolite. Cley Hill can be seen in the distance.
There are some fifty similar entries in our Somerset Good Rock Guide. Simply click HERE and you will be surprised at the wealth of interesting and accessible sites awaiting you this summer.

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