Haughmond Hill is formed from some of the oldest rocks in Shropshire. It is one of a number of Precambrian hills with stunning views of the Shropshire landscape.
The Geotrail, sponsored by Bardon Aggregates in collaboration with the Forestry Commission and the Shropshire Geological Society, provides visitors to Haughmond Hill with an opportunity to consider the immensity of geological time, the variety of landscapes and their association with the diverse rocks of Shropshire, and the commercial exploitation of geology.
The Geotrial begins by the cafe at the main car park and follows a path through the woods to a viewing platform overlooking the actively working quarry. Click here for access information. Along the way are plaques to show something of the character of the landscapes and creatures which inhabited them, from the relatively recent Ice Age through to the late Precambrian, when the rocks being quarried were deposited.
Beyond (south of) the viewing platform the geotrail leads to two natural viewpoints overlooking the north Shropshire plain, both of which have stands of stones representing local rock types (turbidites and conglomerates from the late Precambrian of Haughmond Quarry, Wenlock Limestone of Silurian age from Lea Quarry, Clee Hill dolerite of Carboniferous age, and sandstone similar to the beds beneath it (but from Millom in Cumbria since it is no longer quarried in Shropshire) and gabbro from the Criggion igneous intrusion near the Breidden Hills).
Like Lyth Hill, Haughmond Hill is made up of ancient sediments, turbidites (submarine landslide deposits), which once cascaded off the edge of a continent into the ocean that surrounded it.
Eventually the continental mass collided with another, the process known as "plate collision". The resulting stresses squeezed the rock, tilting it on end (which is why the rocks within Haughmond Quarry are vertical) and causing them to begin to recrystallise. This creates a plateiness in the rock known as "cleavage", which is well seen in the natural rock exposure of turbidites below the more southerly of the two natural viewpoints, the one with the three Family Stones (each having a hole within them and facing their source).
The turbidite rock is quarried for use as roadstone since it is both strong and retains good skid resistance for vehicle tyres.
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