Bredon Hill Cluster Group Update

March 5, 201511:37 amNovember 16, 2015 4:23 pm
View from Bredon Hill

A flat “tongue” of the hard Marlstone Rock highlighted by sunlight (centre) with hummocky ground from landslipped Upper Lias flowing around it. In the foreground is drystone walling in Inferior Oolite and in the distance the Precambrian Malvern Hills are visible.

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

Written by Elliot Carter

Related Items

  • View from Bredon Hill

    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 […]

  • Fatal Accident reported in the Worcestershire Advertiser 1905

    The Human Cost of Getting Stone

     by Anne Spurgeon, project volunteer Quarrying has always been an extremely dangerous occupation and over the centuries many workers have been killed or seriously injured. Until relatively recently we have had few details about the extent of this problem. Just over a hundred years ago, however, the Quarries Act of 1894 brought about an increase […]

  • Worcestershire Gazette 1855

    Tales from the Archives

    You never know what stories you are going to find while researching into the history of quarrying as this tale found by volunteer Charles Clark shows. A letter, found in the Bromyard & District Local History Society archives, dated 1873 from G. Barkley & S. Trickett to one William Finney Esq., contains detailed descriptions, brimming […]

  • Roadshows, mail-outs and many more site visits

    Its been a busy month with the Building Stones team. With – as the post title suggests – a heady mix of public events, letter writing and reconnaissance of the two counties’ innumerable lovely towns and villages. Beth has been presiding over a Herculean effort to make contact with the 500-or-so of you who asked […]