Monday, 1 June 2020

Two Short Geological Field Trips with Nick Chidlaw

Two Short Geological Field Trips with Nick Chidlaw

Nick Chidlaw is offering to lead a couple of field trips following all the Covid-19 Rules. All the details are below. Responses are required by 3rd June.


Dear All,
As you know, the Westminster and devolved UK governments have begun various measures to bring some relieve to the continuing social and economic lockdown. This varies across the countries of the UK, and is being implemented with necessary caution: a return to full lockdown will be essential, either locally or nationally, if C-19 cases begin to rise again.
Lockdown has been quite an ordeal for many people, not least those who enjoy being out in the field, such as students and tutors of geology. I have been very pleased that the ‘Lockdown Geology’ quiz I offered in late April had a good response, and the work received was of very high quality. I am also very gratified that the two distance–learning courses I’ve proposed recently have generated an encouraging response, and hopefully both of these will become viable by their June 10th deadline.
You’ll have heard that from this coming Monday (1st June), in England, groups of up to 6 people from as many households – practising social distancing – will be permitted to meet in outside locations.
I am happy to take this opportunity for us to get out into the field again and do some geology, albeit in a limited way.
I am proposing the following:
*    Cleeve Cloud Short Geological Field Trip    
*    Selsley Common Short Geological Field Trip 
‘Cleeve Cloud’ is close to the crest of the Cotswold escarpment to the east of Cheltenham, and has both excellent extensive rock exposures (a variety of limestones, Middle Jurassic) and dramatic views across the Severn Vale to the varied landscapes of the Welsh Borderland, including the Forest of Dean and the Malverns. The jpg attached shows part of the exposures at Cleeve Cloud. 
Selsley Common is located on the crest of the Cotswold escarpment near to the town of Stroud, has numerous rock exposures in small disused quarries (a variety of limestones, Middle Jurassic), and excellent views westwards somewhat similar to those seen from Cleeve Cloud. The jpg attached is of a Google Earth oblique image of Selsley Common, showing its pitted surface from old shallow quarry workings. The most informative exposure is away from these, close to the wood in the top right part of the image. Stroud is off to the left (north) side of the image.   
Both these locations are very suitable for ‘social distancing’ – they are provided for by ample extensive parking spaces, and open, almost treeless ground where people can spread out easily and not be restricted (such as on narrow footpaths bracketed by fences, walls or trees). 
I have run field trips to these locations many times in the past, and know them well.  
The aim of these short field trips is to provide some field geology for those who are keen to get out again, while exercising at all times appropriate measures to keep themselves and others safe re. C-19. Anyone who would rather not attend in view of their concerns regarding C-19, I would certainly appreciate this.
No fees would be required to attend these short field trips.  
There would be no handouts prepared for attendees on these field trips – it would be a case of me describing the geology from my own notes, and pointing out features in the field; attendees could bring their own notebooks / pencils to record details, take photographs and collect any specimens they wish (I would break up any loose rock material for you to collect from).
There would be no insurance cover for attendees on these trips: the insurance cover I usually have for my courses and trips is to be renewed once these can run again.  Attendees would be advised to wear hard hats when close to overhead rock exposures; ideally they would bring their own, but I can lend some to those who do not have one. Summer clothing would be worn, so bringing a windproof top or sweater would be a good idea in case needed at any point. Suitable headwear (e.g. bush hat) when away from rock exposures would be useful for protection from strong sunshine. Suitable footwear with good tread and ankle support would be advised.
On the field trips we would, as normally, follow good Health & Safety practise. In the unlikely event of injury, both field localities have easy access for an ambulance, should this be necessary. 
Each trip would have, as necessary, only 5 attendees. Trips would be repeated in order to accommodate those who may wish to attend. 
We would meet at a stated parking location (I will email sketch map and postcode for satnav), and from there walk to the start of the rock exposures to be examined. For Cleeve Cloud, the walk would be approximately 20 minutes there, and 25 – 30 minutes back. For Selsley Common, the walk to the first exposure is less than 5 minutes, and c. 10 minutes back from the last exposure. Walking surfaces are well-trodden footpaths and grassy common land with a mix of undulating ground and locally steep slopes.   
Because of the lockdown, there will be no opportunities to visit pubs for refreshments and use of their facilities. Any public loos will be locked to prevent the possibility of C-19 infection. Ideally, aim to use your loo at home before you travel to the field area. We can find ‘al fresco’ opportunities if necessary.
Bringing your own refreshments, such as flask of coffee or tea, fruit juice, water would be a good idea.     
The Cleeve Cloud trip would extend for 3 hours (includes walking time from the car parking area and back).
The Selsley Common trip would extend for 3 hours (includes walking time from the car parking area and back).
Dates in June
We are currently enjoying an extended dry warm sunny spell, and the dry weather (becoming more cloudy and a little fresher) is forecast to continue for at least a week or two; some minor showery spells might develop. 
My thinking is we therefore act soon, to take advantage of the continuing dry spell.
Weekday afternoons and, particularly, evening times would be useful, to minimise the numbers of people who might be using the car parks and walking in the areas of interest.  Sunset is well after 9 pm now. 
Arrival times at the car parks would be from 1.40 pm for the afternoon trips and from 5.40 pm for the evening trips.  
Date Options:
DATE                   AFTERNOON 2 – 5 pm                        EVENING  6 – 9 pm 
Friday 5th              Selsley Common trip                              Cleeve Cloud trip  
Monday 8th            Selsley Common trip                              Cleeve Cloud trip   
Tuesday 9th            Selsey Common Trip                              Cleeve Cloud trip    
Choosing a date
Using the above 3 dates and offering both field trips on each day, potentially caters for a maximum total of 30 people (assuming no one attends more than one trip).  Additional dates later in June or further into the summer could be organised if there is sufficient interest.  
If you would like to attend one of these field trips, let me know which location you would prefer to attend, and on which date. Give me your first choice of location / date, and your second choice of location / date, and I will aim to provide as many people with their preferences as possible.
Necessarily, I will need to operate on a first come, first served basis. If there is a good response to this proposal, and you find you cannot be catered for, I will organise some new dates for later in June or beyond to see what we can sort out.  
Please get back to me by next Wednesday (3rd June), and I will organise the trips according to the level of response received.
Any queries, do let me know.
I hope this proposal is of interest to you, and to hear from you soon! 
Nick C.

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