Bredon Hill Cluster Group Update
Boo & Rob Vernon and Hazel Edwards
Bredon Hill lies totally in Worcestershire and is an outlier of the Jurassic strata that forms the Cotswolds Hills. It is capped by Inferior Oolite limestone, which rests conformably on a sequence of Liassic silts and clays. The limestone forms a steep scarp on its northern crop and a gentle dip slope to the south. The weak Upper Lias produces a distinct zone of slumping that encircles the hilltop plateau. There is ample evidence of landslips, and major ones usually occur every 50 to 100 years.
The Middle Lias is represented by the hard Marlstone Rock that outcrops as near horizontal tongues that protrude out of the landslip zone. The base of the hill consists of Lower or Blue Lias that is rarely seen.
The limestone has been quarried extensively, but is cambered and heavily fractured, and some horizons have vugs – voids in the rock caused by the cambering of the strata. Consequently, it was used as a rough building stone or for walling; the only dry-stone walling in Worcestershire. The Marlstone Rock has been quarried to a lesser extent and was used for rough walling or road-metal, whilst the Blue Lias has been worked as a brick clay near Pershore.
The Bredon Hill Cluster Group of the Building Stones project are currently surveying villages on the southwest side of the hill. Building stones include local, and imported limestone from Bath and Cheltenham, plus the occasional slag block, used for wall foundations. Quarries are mainly overgrown, but external sources, including Geological Survey Memoirs and field-slips from the 1960s provide details of the rock-type. The group has helped with the development of an Earthcache trail around Bredon village, and a further one is planned for the Hill.
Among all this hard work some fascinating stories have come to light too, including that of a local lady riding her horse on the hill being nearly swallowed by a landslip or cave collapse in the 18th Century.
This article originally appeared in Earth Heritage Trust News, Spring 2015