6c. Southstone Rock Trail

The River Teme winds its way through Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The Teme valley is notable especially in the Shelsleys area for the locally abundant deposits of tufa and travertine. These calcium rich deposits formed, and in some cases are still forming, as spring waters are discharged through the underlying limestones. Travertine is the harder form of the calcium carbonate deposit known as tufa and was used locally for building stones. A prime example is the church of St Andrew in Shelsley Walsh but there are many other examples of local buildings where tufa and travertine were utilised for building stone or decorative features.

Southstone Rock is one of the largest mounds of travertine in the locality and probably formed in part some six to seven thousand years ago. It is of interest both geologically and archaeologically. A small cottage was once situated on top of Southstone Rock. It was also thought to be the site of a chapel and a hermitage, although any traces of these are long gone.

The Southstone Rock trail will explore this fascinating geological feature as well as looking more generally at the archaeological and ecological aspects of tufa and travertines.

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