The Tramway

Carboniferous sandstone exposed along a footpath (former tramway) in SVCP

Tramway cutting, Carboniferous sandstone, in Severn Valley Country Park

Geological overview
Highley forms part of the Wyre Forest Coalfield, an area covering 50 square kms. Since medieval times the various rock types making up the coalfield have been mined and extracted contributing both to the economy and character of the area.

Stone quarrying has quite literally helped shaped Highley. This tramway was cut to transport coal from the mine at the top of the hill down to the loading bay at the level of the railway line.

These outcrops of rock are made of sandstone and were formed during the Carboniferous period, some 310 million years ago. Back during the Carboniferous rivers flowing from the north transported sand particles into a delta system in the Wyre Forest Coalfield area. As the river entered into this larger mass of water its energy decreased forcing it to deposit the sand particles it was carrying. Over time great quantities of sand accumulated. This sand was then buried and over time the loose material turned into hard rock.

If you take a close look at the rock face you can see defined lines running horizontally across it, breaking the sandstone into layers, called beds. These lines are called bedding planes. The upper bedding plane of each bed represents a pause in deposition of sand into the delta. Within some of the beds you will be able to make out fainter lines, called laminations. The nature of these laminations can be indicative of minor fluctuations in the supply and nature of sediment to the delta.

At the far end of this cutting you can see evidence of where the quarrymen have been at work, preparing the stone. The rock face is covered in pick marks, creating an even surface, known as a dressed surface.

Severn Valley Country Park, Highley, Shropshire; Grid Reference: SO 7485 8284

Open along public right of way 

Geological Age
Carbonifeorus – Halesowen Formation

Rock Types
Sedimentary – sandstone

Sedimentary structure
Industrial archaeology

Section 2 of the Geopark Way trail
Severn Valley trail: Bridgnorth to Highley
Highley Trail