Ice Age Exhibitions

Three exhibitions are launching on Saturday 16th June, focusing on Worcestershire’s distant past. They are the culmination of the Lost Landscapes Project, celebrating over half a million years of the area’s prehistory, from the time our ancestors arrived until the end of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago. It is a joint project from Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service and Worcester Art gallery & Museum, funded by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.


Ice Age @ Worcester Art Gallery & Museum

Running from the 16th June to 8th September 2018, this exhibition will showcase stunning and surprising Ice Age finds with a Worcestershire connection. Suitable for all ages.

Watch out for an early copy of the first geological map of the country, artefacts made over 300,000 years ago by the earliest humans to live in Worcestershire, and remains of extraordinary Ice Age creatures.

Over this enormous timespan there were many changes in the local environment, from woolly mammoths roaming the tundra in Bromsgrove, to cave lions stalking the riverbanks beneath Bredon Hill. Humans came and went with the warming and cooling of the climate.

Visit Ice Age and come face to face with a Neanderthal, crawl inside our Ice Age shelter, and meet Fluffy the Woolly Mammoth.

Mammoth tusk


Origins of Us @ The Hive, Worcester

Running from 16th June to 8th September 2018, this exhibition explores how our understanding of our place in the world has developed over two centuries of research and discovery.

It will examine our relationship with human species who walked this land before us, and the way our understanding of the Ice Age origins of the human story in Britain has developed from the 19th century to the present.

Through the Mists of Time @ The Hive

An immersive experience inspired by the evolution of humans towards the end of the last Ice Age that led to the birth of modern society. As part of the Lost Landscapes project, and funded through Arts Council England, there will be an audio-visual installation celebrating imagination and human ability to go beyond the here and now, constructing shared systems of beliefs and creating symbols, ceremonies and rituals.

Digital artists SDNA produce distinctive digital artworks and vibrant interactive experiences for a range of settings, from intimate small-scale pieces to ambitious projected installations for outdoor spaces and iconic buildings. We aim to extend the possibilities and reach of digital art by exploring the interaction between moving image, installation, virtual reality and live performance, and by collaborating with a diverse range of participants and audiences.


Find out more at

Extension of the Geopark

The extension of the Geopark to include the Woolhope dome was launched by Jesse Norman MP at a special event in Hereford last Friday.

The Woolhope Club, who have played a big role in the inclusion of the Woolhope Dome, Hereford City and parts of the Wye valley, hosted the event at the Hereford Museum Resource Centre. Gerry Calderbank, Vice Chair of the Geology Section, welcomed the guests before Jesse Norman, local MP, officially opened the extension.

John Payne then gave a talk about the rich geology of this part of Herefordshire and why it is so significant. As well as having significant landscape features it was also important in the early study by Victorians and the original members of the Woolhope Club, hosting many outings and field trips.  It was therefore very appropriate for them to host the launch. It is a great addition to the Geopark in terms of the special landscape, including more of Herefordshire, and having Hereford as a gateway city to the Geopark.

The event also launched GeoFest, the annual programme of events by Geopark forum members. Representatives from Merlin Energy, GeoFest sponsors, were on hand to do the honours and declare it open. You can find out more about the many varied events here.

Jesse Norman MP – Susan Olver (Field Secretary – Woolhope Club) – Dr Bill Wilks (CEO Merlin Energy) – Dr Paul Olver (President – Woolhope Club)- Dr Tony Loy (Chief Geologist: Merlin Energy) – Jean O’Donnell (Vice President – Woolhope Club) – John Payne (Woolhope Club) – Paul Hudson (Worcs Archive & Archaeology Service) and Gerry Calderbank (Vice Chairman, Geology Section Woolhope Club). Photo by Derek Foxton

GeoFest 2018

GeoFest will be running from 26th May, starting with a exhibition at Severn Valley Railway’s Kidderminster Station over the Bank Holiday.

Check out details of events on our calendar and on our events leaflet which you can download here 3879618_LRES

Cappuccino and Geology Trail

Many of the visitor centres in the Geopark provide excellent coffee, tea and cakes.
Access to the cafes is free. Some of the centres have fascinating rock and fossil,
and landscape trails for you to explore. Pick up a free trail leaflet at each centre.
Some centres have rocks and fossils to handle and information panels to peruse.

Severn Valley Railway Bridgnorth Station – train ride geology trail.
Severn Valley Country Park – information panels, rock and fossil displays,
landscape and geology trail.
Bodenham Arboretum – landscape and geology trail.
Wyre Forest Discovery Centre – information panels, geology trails.
Bewdley Museum – information panels, rock and fossil displays, rock and fossil
detective trail, geology trail.
Severn Valley Railway Kidderminster Station – train ride geology trail.
Cob House Country Park – rock and fossil detective trail.
Malvern Hills GeoCentre – rock and fossil displays, leaflets and information panels.
Worcester Cathedral – building stones trail guide for sale.

Please note – if travelling on a Severn Valley Railway train you will need to purchase a ticket and if
touring the grounds at Bodenham Arboretum you will have to pay to enter the arboretum.

New Flyer for Geopark

The Geopark is Expanding!

The Geopark is expanding. During 2018 the western boundary of the Geopark will stretch to Hereford and Ross and include great landscapes such as the Woolhope Dome, parts of the Rivers Wye, Frome and Lugg, Penyard Park and Howle Hill. Look out for the new maps in early 2018 and details of where to go and what to see.


The diagram below shows the geology and landscape of the Woolhope Dome.

new map

Textiles at the Cob House

Geologists in the Geopark helped with this event at the Cob House, with attendees having a go at creating textile designs inspired by the geology.

Cob1 Cob2 Cob3 Cob4 Cob5

Gloucester Geology Walk

Glos cathedral

GeoFest 2017 will close on Saturday 2 September with a guided Geological walk to explore the building stones of Gloucester’s high street. Dr Alice Kennedy from the Gloucestershire Geology Trust will be explaining more about the key stones which form the colourful high streets of Gloucester.

The walk is free but must be booked in advance. Please ring 01452 864 438 or email to book your place by Friday 1st September. Walk will start at 10.30 at Gloucester Cathedral, the south porch off College Green and Westgate Street and last 1-2 hours.


Gloucester Cathedral West Window

Huntley Quarry Walk

GGT June walk

On Saturday 24th June Gloucestershire Geology Trust led a walk at Huntley Quarry where they explore the geology of the site.

They have another event for GeoFest on Saturday 2nd September when they’ll be leading a walk in Gloucester discovering the building stones of Gloucester. It’s a free walk and can be booked through 01452 864438.

Before then there is an 8 mile walk at Trimpley reservoir & Eymore Wood on Monday 17th July if you’re interested in guided walks. It’s arranged by Severn Valley Country Park. Booking essential, please call 01746 781192. Adults £3.50 Children £2.00.

Community Conservation Champions

Champions 1

‘Rockfest’ Champions event in Dingle Quarry

The Community Conservation Champions are a loosely knit group of volunteers who are actively involved in the maintenance and public promotion of 19 geological sites spread across the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. They are engaged in a wide range of activities which vary according to the nature of the site. These

include: site clearance, conservation and monitoring; public open days; guided walks, talks, and demonstrations; and facilitating private visits by request.

Find out more on their website 

Champions 2

Bradnor Hill Quarry Champions work party

Severn Valley Railway Geology Trail


For the last 7 days a GeoFest event at Severn Valley Railway has been promoting ‘A Train Ride Geology Trail’. Over 400 people took up the challenge and tried out the trail from the comfort of their seat on the train. The free guide can be downloaded from the Geopark website.

GeoFest 2017

The 2017 GeoFest is about to begin, and an exiting range of events from the Geopark partners can be found on our new leaflet. Walks, workshops, outdoor theatre and children’s activities are just some of the events on offer. It all starts this weekend with Fossil Days at Bewdley Museum where you can meet some experts who have brought a range of fossils along and will happily explain to you what they are and answer questions.

You can download the leaflet here – GeoFest 2017 leaflet and stat planning some exciting days and evenings out.

Fossil friendly start to GeoFest 2017

GG FossilsGeoFest 2017 kicks off with a fossil friendly weekend at Bewdley Museum. On Saturday and Sunday 27th and 28th May come to the Museum and make your own fossil cast and also see some of the real fossils from the Museum’s collection.

Partner Profile – Geologists in the Geopark

Geologists in the Geopark

This is a group of professional and amateur geologists which provides a service to all members of the Geopark when requested. It has produced rock and fossil detective trails, sets of specimens for public use, geology trails, children’s activities, lectures and guided walks.  Expertise exists in general and local geology, teaching, quarrying, vulcanology, engineering and structural geology, geoconservation and landscape interpretation. The group has a few major undertakings for GeoFest 2017 – an exhibition at Bewdley Museum about geology as seen from space; rock and fossil hunts at Severn Valley Country Park, an exhibition about fossils at Worcester cathedral; and a craft based roving project called ‘Lines in the Landscape’.

GeoFest 2017

Poster 2017

This year’s GeoFest will take place between Saturday 27 May to Sunday 3 September. Nearer the time we will be sharing details of the exciting events being offered by our partners.

Partner Profile – Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service


The Hive, the home of WAAS in the centre of Worcester

Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service works to protect, preserve, manage, record, interpret and promote the history and historic environment of Worcestershire. We help people to access information about their local community or subject of interest. We are based in The Hive in the centre of Worcester where we are happy to welcome visitors. We hold maps, archives, newspapers, the Historic Environment Record, archaeological reports and an extensive local studies library plus many other resources. We also work with community groups to help them with their projects and to discover the history of their area by providing support and training.


A visitor finding out about the Historic Environment Record with one of our archaeologists

The Archives are available Tuesday-Saturday, the Historic Environment Record is open Monday-Friday afternoons, and the Local Studies Library is accessible every day when the building is open.


Enquiry desk for the archives

Workshops are run regularly to help people discover more about the collections and how they can be used in your research. Keep an eye on our website ( and social media (Twitter @explorethepast, Facebook WorcsAAS) for details of forthcoming events.


Students using maps from the archives

Stunning Landscapes from Space - how satellites see the Geopark


An exhibition this summer at Bewdley Museum from 22nd July to 24th September

Space satellites now provide exquisite photographic detail of the Earth’s surface. This exhibition shows the local landscape of hills, rivers and rocks as never seen before. Above is a satellite image of the southern part of Britain using a technique known as ‘false colour’ to enhance the exposed rocks and highlight landscape features. Similar but more local photographs will feature in the exhibition. Satellite images and explanations are being provided by the Geological Remote Sensing Group and associated field scale photos and interpretations are being supplied by Geologists in the Geopark.

Partner Profile – Severn Valley Country Park

An oasis of calm and beauty on the banks of the River Severn, this Green Flag award-winning 51 hectare country park is dedicated to the quiet enjoyment of the countryside by all the family. The park spans both sides of the longest river in the country and its woodlands, ponds and meadows provide a home for many species of plants and animals.

Severn Valley Country park

Severn Valley Country park

This part of the Severn Valley used to be a centre of industry. Sandstone quarried from the area was used to build part of Worcester Cathedral and would have been loaded onto trows (flat-bottom barges) on the river. Coal mining started in Highley in 1878. Production was switched to Alveley in 1936. At its peak the mine employed 1,000 men and produced 300,000 tonnes of coal a year. Mining ceased in 1969 and the area was badly scarred by spoil heaps. Following the closure of the mine, the spoil heaps and land lay derelict until 1986. Shropshire County Council and Bridgnorth District Council embarked on an ambitious project to reclaim the land, installing drainage ditches, re-grading the spoil heap and planting trees. Severn Valley Country Park opened in 1992 and is now managed by Shropshire Council.

Severn Valley Country Park

Severn Valley Country Park

On-site facilities include:

  • Extensive network of footpaths and bridleways
  • Waymarked trails including the Riverside Trail, Woodland Trail and Highley Trail.
  • Easy-access trail designed for all abilities, including a fully accessible bird hide
  • Permanent orienteering course
  • Route 45 cycle trail between Bridgnorth and Bewdley
  • Toilets
  • Picnic areas
  • Parking at Alveley and Highley


The park also boasts a fantastic visitor centre with plenty of information about the history and wildlife of the area. There is also a kid’s corner with activities for younger people to enjoy while mum and dad relax with a well-earned cup of tea and a slice of delicious home-made cake! The Visitor Centre and teashop is open every Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day). It is open 7 days a week during the school holidays. Opening times are April to October: 11am-5pm & November to March: 11am-4pm.


The park can offer educational activities for school groups, ranger led birthday parties and also a full year round events programme. In addition, every Tuesday our conservation volunteers meet to help maintain the high standards of the park for our visitors.

Severn Valley Country park

Severn Valley Country park

Highlights of the park include:


Spring Pieces Hay Meadow

This is a quieter area of the park. It was not affected by the mining. The hay meadow here is a fantastic place to see wildflowers such as rare adder’s tongue fern, orchids and yellow rattle. Walk through the buttercups and see butterflies and bumblebees lazily flying around in the sunshine. Elfin Pool is a fantastic place to bring a net and go pond-dipping. Look out for green woodpeckers flying around the meadows, feeding on yellow meadow ants.


Hall Close Coppice

This is our area of semi-natural ancient woodland. It is managed by coppicing small areas of hazel and alder and allowing them to re-grow. This encourages wildlife like the rare dormouse, a secretive little creature with a fluffy tail that lives in the trees. Take a walk through the shady woodland in May and experience the sight and smell of a bluebell carpet.


Station Road Site

This site marks the location of the first mine shaft that was sunk in Highley. There is a pit wheel that was erected by the people of Highley in 1994 as a memorial to the hard-working men who were at the core of this community. An excellent footpath through the site leads down past the picnic area and pond and through the woodland to Highley Station.


The River Meadows

The riverside meadows are great places to see invertebrates including the rare club-tailed dragonfly. Wander through the orchard in autumn and sample some of the local provenance apples that grow here. The bridge over the river was rebuilt in 2006. It is an excellent place to see bats hunting as the sun sets over the valley. The original bridge was built to take coal and miners across the river and was the first concrete cantilever bridge of its kind in the world.


The Sidings

The paths here were part of the original tramway route taking coal to be washed, graded and loaded onto trains. The ground has been made up into embankments. The woodland is dominated by trees such as silver birch and willow that have seeded. It is a good place to see woodland birds such as nuthatch, tree creeper, blue tit and great tit.


Easy Access Nature Trail and Wetland

This trail leads round a beautiful pond with mallards, coots and moorhen bobbing amongst the lily pads. At the end of the trail is a bird hide that overlooks the wetland. The reeds are cut annually to create perfect conditions for wading birds such as water rail.

Severn Valley Country park

Severn Valley Country park

Partner Profile – Malvern Hills GeoCentre

The Malvern Hills GeoCentre is the official visitor information centre for the Geopark Way. It is situated on the western slopes of the Hills, providing information about the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark, the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the Malvern Hills & Commons.  Wall maps in the Centre show the Geopark and its geology, iPads allow visitors to access a wealth of information, and a large video wall shows panoramas and videos of the region.  There are also have some small displays of fossils and rocks from the region, and some relevant kids’ activities at a school-desk workstation.

GeoCentre entrance 1

GeoCentre entrance

Commanding amazing views over Herefordshire towards Wales, Cafe H2O within the Centre serves a range of light locally sourced / homemade lunches and refreshments. A selection of souvenirs, maps, and postcards are also available for purchase.  Facilities include an on-site free car park, disabled access, highchairs & baby-changing facilities, and free wi-fi.  For those with limited mobility, it is also possible to hire an all-terrain Tramper mobility scooter so as to visit the Worcestershire Beacon and see some of flora, fauna and geological features along the way.

View to GeoCentre and beyond

View to GeoCentre and beyond



Partner Profile – West Midland Safari Park

Over the coming weeks we thought we’d profile some of the members of the Geopark Forum. We start with West Midland Safari Park.


West Midland Safari Park is an award winning visitor attraction with four-miles of safari, home to: lions; rhino; cheetah; tigers; giraffe and elephants, naming just a few. There’s a Discovery Trail, with Land of the Living Dinosaurs and showcases a variety of all weather exhibits and live shows. An African Village features Meerkat Mayhem, Goat Walk and walk-through Lemur Woods. The Adventure Theme Park and Tiny Tots Theme Park is ideal for family fun and there are plenty of shops, eateries and public events staged throughout the year. More Info:


West Midland Safari & Leisure Park

Spring Grove



DY12 1LF

Tel: 01299 402114








Rock & Fossil Hunts at Severn Valley Country Park

Another two successful rock and fossil hunts round off a great summer of geology at Severn Valley County Park. Both days received a great turnout of young budding geologists, and with the industry experts on hand, it was no wonder the days were full of excitement and learning.


The young fossil hunters identified different rocks such as Sandstone, Limestone, Coal, Dolerite and Quarts. Some were lucky enough to find fossilised plants and shells in their rocks!


Take a look at the pictures to see what they got up to




Midsummer Nights Dream at Severn Valley Country Park

As part of their national tour for summer 2016, Rain or Shine Theatre Company is performing a fantastical Shakespearean delight, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at a local Shropshire beauty spot.

The Company

Shropshire Council rangers at Severn Valley Country Park are delighted to see the return of the company to the park on Friday 12th August for their outdoor performance of this magical and hilarious comedy.


In the story the audience is asked to join the lovers, Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius this summer as Rain or Shine follow them into the intoxicating dream world of fairy queen and king, Titania and Oberon. With well-loved characters such as Bottom and Puck in tow, join us for a rip-roaring, fast-paced jaunt through Shakespeare’s best loved comedy this out-door season. Filled with magic and mischief, inspired by warm nights, young love and the Elizabethan Carnival, this is as show sure to delight.


Rain or Shine is a Gloucester based professional theatre company which specialises in outdoor summer tours of classical theatre to castles, stately homes and gardens throughout the U.K.  They have performed classic comedy productions of works by Shakespeare, Sheridan, Goldsmith, Wilde and Vanbrugh to tens of thousands of happy theatregoers since they were formed in 1998.


Tickets are £13 Adult, £11 Concession, £6 Child (suitable for age 6 upwards). Tickets are available by calling 01746781192 and will be available to purchase on the door on the night.

Gates open at 6.30pm with the performance starting at 7.30pm. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic and low backed seating to add to their enjoyment of the performance.

Severn Valley Country Park – Nature’s Art Attack

We had great fun on Wednesday with our Nature’s Art Attack session. During the sessions the children collected lots of leaves, grass twigs and other natural items from around the park. We had a great time mashing, squashing and bashing everything we found to make some paint to colouring a lovely landscape.

Severn Valley Country Park

Severn Valley Country Park

A big thank you to Georgia Jacobs joined us to help the children make cards using cut out leaves, ink stamps and more. The children had a great time!


We have events every Wednesday and Friday of the school holidays. Geologists in the Geopark will be with us on Mon 8th August & Thurs 25th August for a Rock and Fossil Hunt. It’s going to be a fun summer!

Exploring Severn Valley Country Park on 2 wheels

Rangers at Severn Valley Country Park are asking visitors to ‘Get on yer bike!’ Shropshire Council is working with the team at Wolverley Bike Hire to enable visitors to explore the park on 2 wheels.

Bike hire

L-R Eddie Pugh (SVCP Ranger), Andrew Hackett (Wolverley Bike Hire), Anna Hackett (Wolverley Bike Hire), James Brookes (SVCP Ranger). Also pictured Mr & Mrs Hackett’s children.

The country park is an ideal place for cycling as it is situated at the mid-way point between Bridgnorth and Bewdley on the Mercian Way. The Mercian Way, part of the national cycle network runs through the park and beyond, allowing riders to enjoy miles of off-road tracks along the river Severn and through woods and meadows. It is a great way to see the spectacular Shropshire scenery away from the frenetic pace of everyday life.


Wolverley Bike Hire is a family run business which has a fleet of quality British designed hire bikes. The bikes are regularly safety checked and cleaned after every rental and included with each rental is a helmet, puncture repair kit, tyre levers and a pump. Bikes are available to be hired by prior arrangement by contacting or 07891309783. The bikes will be delivered directly to the park and can be hired for a full day or half a day.


Visitor centre manager, Susie Comaish says, ‘cycling is an excellent way to keep fit. The team at Wolverley Bike Hire have a good cross section of bikes to rent, meaning all the family can enjoy a great day out together.’


Andrew Hackett from Wolverley Bike Hire says, ‘If visitors don’t have their own mountain bike or cannot spare the space in their car or camper, we can make cycling accessible by delivering our bikes directly to the country park to enable visitors to explore new places.’


The prices are: Adult bike £25.00 per day / £15.00 half day; children’s bike £18.00 per day / £10.00 half day. Rental period is from 9.00am until 5.00pm. 15% of each rental goes directly to help support the running of the country park.

Visit by Geopark President

The President of the Geopark Chris Darmon made a visit to GeoFest on 22nd, 23rd and 24th July. During his time with us he launched the revamped GVIP (Geopark Visitor Information Point) at Bewdley Museum, he promoted Triassic wine from Astley Vineyard which is for sale in Bewdley Tourist Information Centre and he opened the geology inspired textile demonstration and visited the ‘One Grain’ exhibition, both at the Museum. 

WineLaunch 1

Launch of Triassic wine at Bewdley TIC


WineLaunch 2

Astley Vineyard’s Triassic white

WineLaunch 3

Textiles, with Georgia Jacobs at the sewing machine

WineLaunch 4

Ross Iannoccaro explains the additions to the Geopark Information Point.

There is so much going on in GeoFest with plenty more to come in August. Details are in the calendar on the website. The textiles exhibition ‘Geology at Different Scales’ continues at Bewdley Museum until 11th September.

WineLaunch 7

Georgia Jacobs with her geology inspired textile demonstration.

WineLaunch 6

Chris Darmon visits the ‘One Grain’ exhibition in the Brass Foundry

WineLaunch 5

Bewdley TIC staff and Triassic wine tasting session

GeoFest is well underway

Keep up to date with all that is happening in GeoFest on our Facebook page 


3 rock and fossil hunt 26 Junerock and fossil hunt 26 June

An award winning wine from Astley Vineyards – Triassic.

We are working closely with Astley Vineyards to promote a special wine called Triassic. Located on Bromsgrove Sandstone the vineyards portray that wonderful association between geology, landscape and land-use.

Astley Vineyards, one of England’s oldest surviving vineyards, was started by viticultural pioneer Michael Bache in 1971. Although for that time, N.Worcs would have been considered far too northerly for successful wine grape growing, Bache’s dedication to his task paid off as the wines produced won wide recognition and acclaim nationally and internationally.

The vineyards comprise 5 acres established on Triassic red sandstone loams on a slightly NE facing slope within half a mile of the River Severn, 3 miles south of Stourport-on-Severn, in North Worcestershire. Prior to being a vineyard, the field was a traditional English cherry orchard, eventually removed courtesy of the 1947 Agricultural Act’s grubbing up grant. The basic terroir has therefore a history of minimal intervention and apart from tile drainage, remains so. It is inherently low yielding and the current viticultural practice is designed to maintain low yields to maximise wine quality. Adjacent to the vineyards, a small stream has cut an intimate valley into the soft rocks. This feature acts as a drain for both rain and frost thereby serving as a critical positive factor in the vineyard’s success.

The purpose of all wine production should be the creation of a product that contains some unique essence of where it was grown. Astley’s “Triassic” dry white wine, a blend dominated by the Siegerrebe grape, is named after the vineyard soil’s parent material to reflect the influence of local geology on the character of the wine.

The wine can be purchased from the shop at Bewdley Museum where there is also more information about the geology of the Geopark.

Astley1 astley

Geology Events at Severn Valley Country Park


Shropshire Council rangers at Severn Valley Country Park are pleased to announce a day of fantastic events on Sunday 26th June.

During the day there will be a guided walk, a guided rock and fossil hunt and a self-led rock and fossil detective trail.

The guided walk (11.15am-1pm) will be around the remains of Alveley colliery. It has been organised by Alveley Historical Society and led by member David Poyner, For over thirty years, what is now Severn Valley Country Park was the site of Alveley Colliery, in its day, one of the most up to date coal mines in the country, employing over a thousand men. Even today, nearly 50 years after it closed, there are still many clues as to the former use of the site. This walk will look at the mining remains on both sides of the Severn and will follow the journey of coal from its emergence from the ground to its dispatch by lorry or on the Severn Valley Railway. In the afternoon, there will be a 2 hour family friendly rock and fossil hunt from 1.30pm-3.30pm. Local experts from ‘Geologists in the Geopark’ will be with us as part of Abberley and Malvern Hills Geofest 2016. Visitors will have the chance to find their own carboniferous fossil. The session starts at the visitor centre with a brief introduction to the fascinating geology of the park and what might be found during the hunt. As visitors dig into an exposed area of coal spoil, the Geologists will help identify what has been uncovered. The rocks and fossils can be found on the surface or just underneath it so visitors are asked to bring a small trowel and a plastic tub with them. An identification sheet will also be provided and it will be possible to take any finds home.

In addition throughout the day visitors will be able to turn detective on our self-led rock and fossil trail. There will be clues to follow around the park and 10 different types of rocks and fossils to identify on our trail detective posters. All rock and fossil detectives will be issued with a certificate after completing the trail. Trail maps are £2 and are available from the visitor centre all day between 11am-4pm

These events are a taster for the upcoming Coal Mining Heritage weekend to be held at the park on 2nd & 3rd July which has been co-ordinated by Alveley Historical Society.

To book please call 01746 781 192. Guided walk Adult £3.50, Child £2. Rock and fossil hunt Child £3.50, Adult free.

Unfinished Canal Business – A Broken Promise

How much do you know about the planned canal from Kington-Leominster? As part of GeoFest, the Woolhope Club have a walk on Sun 5th June, it starts 10:30am from Rock Village Hall. Find out more on our GeoFest page

Merlin Energy Resources begins a five year sponsorship of the Geopark

Merlin Energy Resources Ltd. is a company based in Ledbury with a trading division Merlin Datawise based in Colwall. We are a team of specialist consultant geoscientists and experienced data managers who wholeheartedly support the ethos of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark Forum: “To raise awareness of geology, landscape and associated heritage and to promote tourism, conservation, access and education across this spectrum”.

Merlin is excited to offer both financial support to the Geopark as well as our specialist skill sets and knowledge to assist in making the earth sciences more enjoyable and accessible to more people in our local area.

GeoFest 2016

The GeoFest programme for June, July and August is now available – see GeoFest section for details. Hundreds of days of activities, walks, exhibitions, workshops and other events. Plan your summer now and find out about rocks, fossils, wildlife, heritage, history, archaeology, landscape and much more.

GRSG sponsors GeoFest 2016

The Geological Remote Sensing Group (GRSG) is a special interest group of the Geological Society of London (GeolSoc) and the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc). The GRSG is an association of enthusiasts keen on the geological aspects of remote sensing. The current membership includes geologists and remote sensing experts employed within industry, academia and government agencies, as well as graduate students. Although the parent bodies are both based in the UK the GRSG is an international organization with members around the globe. Each year the GRSG holds its own annual conference devoted to geological remote sensing and sponsors a number of other geological events and initiatives which includes those of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark and we are pleased to be involved with this initiative and the events that the Geopark holds in 2016.

Orchid Expert makes a return visit to the Severn Valley Country Park

A passion for orchids

A passion for orchids

Shropshire Council Rangers at Severn Valley Country Park are happy to welcome back orchid expert, Phil Seaton. Phil will be speaking about his passion for orchids across the world, focusing mainly on Latin America. Worldwide there are over 25,000 species of orchids, making them one of the largest plant families. Many species are threatened with extinction in their natural habitat due to climate change, habitat degradation, over collection for ornamental proposes or use in traditional medicine.

Over the past ten years, Phil has been managing an orchid seed banking project for the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The project has taken him to a number of countries throughout Latin America (Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador and, most recently, Colombia) both promoting collection and storage of orchid seed as a conservation tool, and searching for orchids in their natural habitats from high in the Andes to the Caribbean coasts.

Mr Seaton took early retirement from lecturing in Biology to work in orchid conservation and he regularly uses the labs at King Charles 1st School in Kidderminster, where he works with the students studying and growing both local and tropical orchids. He is also the author of a number of informative books including ‘Growing Orchids from Seed’

Visitor Centre Manager Susie Comaish says, ‘Last year’s talk looked at the conservation of British orchids but Phil’s knowledge of orchids is global. It will be fascinating to hear more about these special plants from around the world.’

The talk ‘A Passion for Orchids: Orchid Travels in Latin America’ will be held at Severn Valley Country Park’s visitor centre on Wednesday January 13th 2016, 7.30pm-9pm. Tickets are £4 Adults, £2 Children £3 Members of the Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Tickets include a hot drink and biscuits. Places are limited so please call 01746 781192 to book.

Residential field trip in the Geopark

The Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark is pleased to share that Chris Darmon, Geopark president and Down to Earth editor, will be leading a residential field trip in the Geopark during 2016. Please see the advert below for details:

“Earth science learning for all”

Abberley & Malvern Hills Geopark
April 29 – May 4 2016

As President of the Abberley & Malvern Hills Geopark, I invite you to come and join me as we explore the varied geology of this part of the Heart of England! There are breathtaking views, fine scenery and excellent rocks within the Geopark that extends across 1250 square kilometres and takes in parts of the four counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

In the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark we’ll find outstanding geology that spans 700 million years of Earth’ history. The story begins with Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks and then moves on through sediments of all ages, ending with the Triassic desert sandstones of Bridgnorth. We’ll see geology from a steam rain and even animatronic dinosaurs in the Wildlife Safari Park!

We’ll stay at the centrally located Great Malvern Hotel where we will get well looked after and be able to sample good local food. This is a great opportunity to explore some of the finest geology in England over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

The cost of the 5-night trip is £695.00 per person in a double/twin room and £850.00 for single occupancy.

We expect this trip to book up quickly – so you are advised to contact us soon for a booking form!

Chris Darmon BSc
Course Organiser/Leader

To request a booking form, email:
or ring: 0114 245 5746

Download information in the October edition of Down to Earth

West Midlands Safari Park presents – SAFARI ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Are you a budding wildlife artist and love visiting the Safari Park for inspiration? Enter their Safari Artist of the Year competition for your chance to win some fantastic prizes including an iPad, VIP Experiences and Annual Passes! Plus selected work will be exhibited at the Safari Park throughout January with commission from sales directly helping wildlife conservation.

Choose up to 5 of your best artworks, send in a photo along with an entry form to by 13th November, and West Midlands Safari Park will let you know if you have been pre-selected for judging.

Download an entry form as a PDF 

The Bewdley Civic Society School Project 2015 - an exhibition at Bewdley Museum

Bewdley Museum

Bewdley Museum

This year’s exhibition involves collaborative work with Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre and members of the Abberley and Malvern Hill Geopark.

During the project local geologists offered their expertise to help the learners to identify the stone used in the building of some of the important historic structures in Bewdley. For more infomation about the project click here.

The exhibition runs from 12th September to 31st October at Bewdley Museum, 10am – 4.30pm. Admission to the museum is free!

Geological Inspiration in Textile Art: An Illustrated Talk at Severn Valley Country Park

Crinoids - Silurian reef

Crinoids – Silurian reef

Shropshire Council rangers at Severn Valley Country Park are delighted to be welcoming Georgia Jacobs for this fascinating look at the use of geology in textile art.

Since retiring from her career as a lecturer in Geography and Geology at Halesowen College, Georgia has been able to develop her love for textile art by gaining a series of qualifications including machine embroidery, silk painting and advanced textile decoration.

As a registered speaker on recreational geology and textile art for the Worcestershire WI, Georgia enjoys exhibiting her textile art as it helps promote public awareness of geology and how the subject can be used as a source of inspiration for artists working in textiles and mixed media.

Georgia’s passion for textile art can be seem in her vast collection of vibrantly coloured, geologically inspired textiles. Her use of different textures and colours to create wonderful shapes and landscapes is very creative and she is able to bring the subject to life through this humorous and interesting talk.

Visitor centre manager Susie Comaish says, “the country park is the perfect setting for this talk. The Severn Valley was carved out 18,000 years ago during the last ice age and is filled with distinctive geological features, some of which Georgia has replicated in her art.” 

The talk will be held in the visitor centre on Thursday 15th October 7.30pm-9pm. Tickets are £3 Adults, £2 Children. Tickets include a hot drink and biscuits. Places are limited so please call 01746 781192 to book.

Full steam ahead for the Geopark at Severn Valley Railway

SVR Newsletter-01

'Geology Rocks' at Severn Valley Country Park - Sunday 30th August

As Geofest 2015 draws to a close, experts from the group ‘Geologists in the Geopark’ will be spending the day at Severn Valley Country Park in Alveley, Shropshire. Its members have a passion for landscape and geology which they are happy to share so people can learn more about the area they live in.

Visitors are invited to drop in to the visitor centre any time between 11am-4pm to learn about the rocks, fossils and minerals found in the Earth’s crust. Visitors are also invited to bring along their own specimens for identification by the experts. Whilst at the park, visitors will also be able to follow the new geological trail devised by Peter & Cherry Oliver from ‘Geologists in the Geopark’. The short trail looks at the sandstone, coal, igneous rocks and quartz which can be seen around the park.

Visitor centre manager, Susie Comaish says ‘the event runs from 11am-4pm on Sunday 30th August. It will be a great opportunity for our visitors to learn about the local landscape and have any questions they may have answered. The experts on site will have many samples of rocks and fossils which visitors will be able to get to grips with.’

This is a free event which is part of the annual Geofest held by Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark. Geofest is a three month programme of events and activities highlighting and celebrating the geology, landscape, heritage and wildlife of the Geopark.

Bewdley Rocks - Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre

Pupils get a close encounter with this ancient rock formation

Pupils enjoying the opportunity

Blackstone Rock fieldtrip

Blackstone Rock fieldtrip

Bewdley Civic Society has this year partnered the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark, to deliver their annual local history project with the Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre. Each year the Civic Society works with year 7 pupils of the school (who are 12 years old) and to celebrate the imminent opening of the school’s new science block, the head teacher, Mrs Julie Riley, asked if they would take a scientific approach to the study of local history this year. Following the connections between Civic Society committee member, Ian Williams, and the Geopark, Peter Oliver and Mike Preston were approached, and agreed, to provide the scientific and geological knowledge necessary to show links between some of the local rocks surrounding Bewdley and the stone which was used in the building of some of the important historic structures in the town.

Mike and Peter (from the ‘Geologists in the Geopark’ group) led a workshop and field trip for the young people, accompanied by Becky Newbold from the school, Barbara Longmore and Ian Williams from the Civic Society Committee and Sue Duffield, Bewdley Museum Education Officer. The purpose of the field trip was to view examples of local rocks and geological features and for the pupils develop an understanding of how they were formed and of the changes that had occurred in the local landscape over millions of years. They were also able to visit the disused quarry on the Sandbourne estate (with kind permission from the owner, Mrs Julie Copeman, who gave up her time to escort them) so that the students could see the place of origin of the stone which was used in the building of the local railway viaducts and bridges.

Mike Preston encourages the pupils

Mike Preston encourages the pupils

Bewdley Rocks - Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre

Bewdley Rocks – Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre


Back in school, day 2 of the project was devoted to a consolidation of the knowledge gained from the field trip and finished with the students making group presentations to answer questions set by the geologists. The final presentations were judged by Civic Society Officers and prizes will be awarded by the Bewdley Mayor, Cllr Calne Edginton-White, at a tea party for the young people in the Mayor’s Parlour in September.

The Project Organiser, Barbara Longmore, said, “The students worked exceptionally hard on the two hottest days of the year (so far) and demonstrated a good understanding of what they had experienced. They now have the task of passing on their knowledge to the whole of year 8, after the summer break, by repeating their presentations when they return to school”. The work from the Project will be on show in the Civic Society Exhibition in Bewdley Museum from 12th September – 16th October.

Written by Barbara Longmore

Artcile in Kidderminster shuttle

Four new geology trail leaflets in the Geopark

Four new trail leaflets have been created by ‘Geologists in the Geopark’, a member of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark Forum.

The trails are:

An Arboretum Geology Trail  – Bodenham Arboretum

A Museum Geology Trail – Bewdley Museum

A Country Park Geology Trail – Severn Valley Country Park

Geology along the Woodpecker Trail – Wyre Forest


Each of the FREE trail leaflets are available to pick up at the venues. They can also be downloaded here:

A Museum Geology Trail – Bewdley Museum

An Arboretum Geology Trail – Bodenham Arboretum

A Country Park Geology Trail – Severn Valley Country Park

Geology along the Woodpecker Trail – Wyre Forest

Fossils of the Geopark exhibition opening on the 4th July at Bewdley Museum


Guided Walks - GeoFest 2015


Download a programme

A Geologists Association Regional Conference - The Ludlow Symposium 2nd – 4th October 2015

A Geologists Association Regional Conference

A Geologists Association Regional Conference

Entitled ‘The Geology of the Marches’- Murchison to the Modern Era’, this weekend event aims to blend a series of keynote talks with an identification workshop/guided tour on the Friday afternoon using the vast fossil collection of the Ludlow Museum Resource Centre, a series of interactive workshops on the Saturday, and a choice of five minibus field trips on the Sunday.

The Welsh Borders or the Marches are in many ways the key area where the first principles of geology were tried and tested and both William Smith, the recognised ‘Father of Geology’, and Sir Roderick Murchison will both feature on the Saturday and throughout the field trip to key sites in the Mortimer Forest, Croft Castle and Aymestrey on the Sunday.

New research on the Precambrian in the Church Stretton area will also feature as a keynote talk and will be supported on the Sunday by a choice of two field trips either to Caer Caradoc led by Paul Olver or to the Wrekin with Andrew Jenkinson.

The Silurian system was defined in the Marches by Murchison and no visit to the area would be complete without a talk on the latest fossil finds by Prof. David Siveter and by a field trip to the classic Wren’s Nest site in Dudley, West Midlands on the Sunday.

Finally, with building stones high on the current agenda, an interactive workshop is planned for the Saturday hosted by the Earth Heritage Trust and a follow-up field trip to four South Shropshire churches is planned for the Sunday taken by Prof. John Potter from the University of Reading.

Geoparks, now found across Europe, are a tangible sign of earth scientists joining forces with their local communities and geological societies. The Geovillages Workshop on the Saturday, hosted by our colleagues from Germany, France and Poland, will introduce us to a superb range of geology and how group visits, the development of geology trails in different languages, and other geology-based activities can benefit all society members whether professional or amateur.

If you would like to know more including a booking form, please look at the Symposium website.

Grow your own Orchids event at Severn Valley Country Park

Common spotted orchids in the Spring Pieces Meadow at Severn Valley Country Park

Common spotted orchids in the Spring Pieces Meadow at Severn Valley Country Park

After a successful visit to the Severn Valley Country Park earlier in the year, orchid expert Phil Seaton is returning to lead a hands-on demonstration. Phil is passionate about the conservation of orchids and travels around the world to study and aid his research into seed storage and seedling growth.

Phil took early retirement from lecturing in Biology to pursue his love of orchids full time. He has worked at the seed conservation department at Kew Gardens, and more recently works out of the labs of King Charles 1st School in Kidderminster helping the students both study and grow local and tropical orchids.

Phil is bringing his expertise to the country park for an orchid workshop on Monday 6th July 10am-1pm. Phil will be teaching visitors how to grow native orchids from seed. Visitors will learn how to sow dactylorhiza (marsh orchid) seed and will end up with a petri dish of seedlings to take home.

The country park is the perfect place to learn how to grow orchids. It is home to 5 native species and during June, the Spring Pieces meadow is filled with hundreds, possibly thousands, of common spotted orchids.

Visitor centre manager, Susie Comaish says, ‘Earlier in the year, Phil’s talk about orchid conservation proved very popular. It is great that we are able to give our visitors the opportunity to grow orchids from seed. We have had to limit the number of the people on the workshop to 12, so we are asking for visitors to book their place early to avoid disappointment.’

Everything needed for the workshop will be provided. £15 per person or £20 per person (includes an informative orchid book). Please call rangers at Severn Valley Country Park on 01746 781 192 for more information or to book your place.


Outdoor Theatre at Severn Valley Country Park

persuasion1Severn Valley Country Park, part of Shropshire Councils outdoor recreation service is happy to announce an outdoor theatre production of Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’ on Friday 19th June 2015.

Hotbuckle are a local theatre company based in Shrewsbury, they regularly tour the country with their productions and we are very happy to be welcoming them to the country park. Hotbuckle adapt classic novels and try to tell tales with humour and emotion, making them accessible to everyone.

The story of Persuasion is a timeless one. Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth were once hopelessly in love. Persuaded by her family that he is not of her standing, she ends their engagement and he leaves for the sea.

Then he returns. Now a wealthy captain, Wentworth comes to seek a wife. Treating Anne with cold indifference, she can only watch as he courts another. But will he ever forgive her?

Visitor Centre Manager, Susie Comaish says, ‘We are very excited for Hotbuckle Productions to be visiting us this summer. Their adaptation of ‘Persuasion’ has been receiving 5 star reviews at they have toured the country. We are looking forward to their re-telling of this classic Austen tale.

The production will be held in the beautiful grounds of the park. Audiences are invited to bring along low-backed seating or rugs, and a picnic to maximise their enjoyment of this al fresco performance. The teashop will be open for refreshments.

The show starts at 7.30pm and visitors are invited to arrive from 6.30pm onwards to get the perfect spot to watch the performance. The entertainment ends at 9.45pm.

Ticket prices Adult £12 Concession £10 Child £6 (ages 5-16). Suitable for all.

You can purchase tickets by calling 01746 781192 using credit or debit card. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the visitor centre and will also be available on the night.

Severn Valley Country Park is a member of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark Forum, and this event features in the GeoFest 2015 programme of events.

Chris Darmon, president of the Geopark, visits the north of the Geopark during the opening weekend of GeoFest 2015 - 30th and 31st May

No stay in Bewdley is complete without a visit to the river cliffs at Blackstone Rock. Tim Hipkiss, a local enthusiast, accompanied Chris for a morning field trip exploring landforms and sedimentary structures.

Next stop was Bodenham Arboretum. Chris launched GeoFest 2015 with an engaging speech ‘What’s in a cover’. Using examples of William Smiths geology map, a just-published geological fieldwork book and the GeoFest programme the message was – always look beyond the cover otherwise you’ll never know what delights are hidden inside! A fitting analogy to all budding geologists, adults and children alike – take some time and take a closer look at your local rocks and landscape and they will begin to reveal their ancient secrets!

After lunch with James Binnian, owner of the Arboretum, Chris was whisked off to the ‘Land of the Living Dinosaurs’ at West Midlands Safari Park. Here Chris and Georgia were met by Aby Henderson, a learning officer at the Safari Park. Aby gave them a tour of the amazing exhibition imparting her extensive knowledge and enthusiasm about all things dinosaurs.

Sunday morning and Chris travelled in style from Bewdley to Severn Valley Country Park on the footplate of a Severn Valley Railway steam train. Chris was welcomed by the Country Park’s volunteers and joined the Geologists in the Geopark group for a day engaging visitors and residents with the geology and landscape of the area.

Two men on a millstone! Chris Darmon (left) with Ian Williams at Severn valley Country Park during the launch weekend of GeoFest 2015 — at Severn Valley Country Park.

Two men on a millstone! Chris Darmon (left) with Ian Williams at Severn valley Country Park during the launch weekend of GeoFest 2015 — at Severn Valley Country Park.

Chris Darmon (right) with volunteers from Severn Valley Railway. Chris embarked on a footplate ride on the steam train to Country Park Holt station in Severn Valley Country Park — at Bewdley railway station.

Chris Darmon (right) with volunteers from Severn Valley Railway. Chris embarked on a footplate ride on the steam train to Country Park Holt station in Severn Valley Country Park — at Bewdley railway station.

Gloucester Stone Carving Festival at The Llanthony Secunda Priory, Gloucester

Gloucestershire Geology Trust will be at festival which runs on the 23rd and 24th May.

This year 20+ stonemasons from around the country with varying levels of expertise will be given a block of stone and less than 20hrs to carve an animal themed sculpture. An auction of the sculptures will take place at 3pm on Sunday 24th May. The organiser has carved a beautiful elephant which is the raffle prize and the draw will take place after the auction, tickets are just £2 each.

As well as the stonemasons there are pop-up shops and activities, including The Llanthony Priory Trust, The Gloucester Geology trust, The Newport Ship Trust, Have a go at Stonecarving, Cotswold Archaeology, Gloucester City Council and 6 pop-up shops!

The event has been organised by Gloucester Stonecarving Festival and Cat’s Eye Carving.

For further infomation visit their website: 

Severn Valley Country Park reveals the secrets of its landscape!

Mining scukpture trail in Severn Valley Country Park

Mining scukpture trail in Severn Valley Country Park

As part of the launch weekend of Geofest 2015, Severn Valley Country Park will be hosting a free event on Sunday 31st May. Shropshire Council Rangers will be welcoming the president of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark, Chris Darmon as well as Geologists in the Geopark for a day of geological discovery!

Between 11am and 4pm, local experts will be on hand to answer your questions and you will be able to learn all about the Geopark. There will be rocks and fossils on display and you will be able to uncover the industrial past of the country park as well as the impact of the ice age on the Severn Valley.

The River Severn running through the Country Park. In geological terms the river is a very recent addition having carved out its course over the last 12,000 years

The River Severn running through the Country Park. In geological terms the river is a very recent addition having carved out its course over the last 12,000 years

A new geology trial devised by Peter and Cherry Oliver of Geologists in the Geopark will be available from the visitor centre. This is a free trail which describes the sandstone, coal spoil, igneous rocks, silica and floodplain which are all within a short distance from the centre. As part of the launch weekend, there will be a free guided walk beginning at 1.30pm. This will follow the route of the trail and will be led by Chris Darmon and Peter Oliver.

For more information about the ‘Geopark at the Country Park’ event, please call Severn Valley Country Park on 01746 781 192.

Severn Valley Country Parks natural play area

Severn Valley Country Parks natural play area


Getting closer to nature for May Half Term at Severn Valley Country Park

East access nature trail and wetland

East access nature trail and wetland

For May half term Severn Valley Country Park be helping their younger visitors get closer to nature.

On Wednesday 27th May, the rangers will be making a wildlife hotel. The hotel or stack will be made from materials found around the park and will help replicate the natural features insects love to call home. The stack will be assembled to provide lots of nooks and crannies for insects and small mammals to crawl into. Once the stack is completed, it will remain in the woods at Hall Close Coppice, meaning everyone will be able to watch the fascinating behaviour of the little creatures up close whenever they visit the park.

On Friday 29th May, visitors will be able to join the rangers for a fun scavenger hunt. Whilst exploring the park, the children will be asked to find a series of items including a y-shaped stick, a smooth pebble and a blade of grass you can play a tune on!

'The Hide'

‘The Hide’

In addition, the RSPB will be at Severn Valley Country Park on Sunday 24th May and Wednesday 27th May. You will be able to drop in any time after 11am to learn more about the work they do and they will also be offering children’s craft activities.

For more information please or to book your place on the events, please call 01746 781 192. There will be 2 sessions of the Wildlife Hotel and Scavenger Hunt. Children £3.50, Adults Free. Under 8s must be accompanied by an adult.

Natural play area at Severn Valley Country Park

Natural play area at Severn Valley Country Park


From inside the hide looking across the wetland

From inside the hide looking across the wetland

Severn Valley Country Park




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