Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015

Mendip Rocks!

The popular Mendip Rocks! Festival is back again this October, bringing to life the fascinating rocks that have created the Mendip Hills.

Mendip Rocks!

Explore local quarries with expert guides during Mendip Rocks!

Step back in time and explore an amazing 420 million years of geology right under your feet. A wide range of events will reveal the ancient stories that have shaped a unique and very special landscape.

It’s a great chance to see some of Mendip’s best kept geological secrets, with many events being held at sites that are not usually open to the general public.

There is something for everyone from family fun days to guided walks in working quarries for adults with some geological knowledge.

The limestone geology has created the highest inland cliffs and gorges in the country and also many caves beneath. This valuable rock has been quarried for centuries and is still today.

There are many small disused quarries of the Mendips which provide safe places to enjoy the geology as well as providing great havens for wildlife.

This huge period of geological time is represented in several other rock types, all contributing to the unique Mendip Hills landscape.

Adel Avery, festival co-ordinator explains, “Whilst enjoying the breath taking views above ground on the Mendip Hills, the events will bring alive the fascinating stories of the rocks beneath our feet that have created busy industries in the past as well as shaping the dramatic and well loved landscapes we see today.”

“We aim to explore this geological diversity throughout our festival events. No prior knowledge of geology is required, and all will be revealed as we explore together.”

Full programme of festival events is avaible at www.somersetwildlife.org/rocks. General enquiries or for a copy of programme: Adel Avery, 01749 840240 adel@nettlebridge.com

Admission Charges
Free unless otherwise stated. A donation of £3/adult, £1/child is welcome towards the Mendip Rocks! Project.

Booking
Events do not require booking unless otherwise stated.

Mendip Rocks! 2015 festival is organised by the Somerset Earth Science Centre in partnership with the Mendip Hills AONB  (Area of Outstanding Natural  Beauty) with kind support from Natural England and Somerset Wildlife Trust.

Sat 3 Oct 11am – 3pm Let’s Rock! at Somerset Earth Science Centre (SESC)

Hands-on activities provided by our Mendip Rocks! Festival team. Fun family activities to inspire you about our rocky world and tempt you to come along to our festival of events celebrating the amazing Mendip geology.
Somerset Earth Science Centre, Moon’s Hill Quarry, Stoke St Michael, BA3 5JU.

Wed 7 Oct 10am – 3pm
Westbury Quarry Conservation Task

Join the Mendip Hills AONB volunteer team on a conservation task day at Westbury Quarry, former limestone quarry now a wildlife haven. Booking essential, Nichola Penn (AONB), 01761 462338 or mendipvolunteers@gmail.com

Wed 7 Oct 3.30pm – 4.30pm
Wells – A History in Stone

A journey through time to the ancient landscapes of the Wells area, looking at the rock types used in and around the Cathedral Green on a gentle walk with geologist David Rowley. Meet outside Wells and Mendip Museum. £3/person. Booking essential, Adel Avery, 01749 840240 or adel@nettlebridge.com

Wed 7 Oct 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Dorset and Somerset Canal Talk at SESC

 An illustrated talk by Derrick Hunt of the Dorset and Somerset Canal Society, about the fascinating history of the 18th Century canal.  In 1796 a branch line was planned to run westwards from Frome up the Mells Valley, via Vobster and Coleford to Nettlebridge.  Work commenced on building some 8 miles of this branch but it was never completed.
Booking essential, Gill Odolphie 01749 840156 or gill@earthsciencecentre.org.uk

Thurs 8 Oct 9.30am – 1pm
Torr Works, nr Frome Geology Tour from SESC

Tour around one of the UK’s largest working limestone quarries, to look at the amazing geology with Aggregate Industry’s Geologist Steve Nice. Booking essential, Gill Odolphie 01749 840156 or gill@earthsciencecentre.org.uk

Thurs 8 Oct 2pm – 4pm
Dorset & Somerset Canal History Walk around Edford and Coleford.

A guided walk with Derrick Hunt of the D&S Canal Society, to see the remains of the unfinished canal in the East Mendips around Edford, and Coleford.
Meet in the Duke of Cumberland pub car park at Edford Green, Holcombe, BA3 5HQ.
Booking essential, Gill Odolphie 01749 840156 or gill@earthsciencecentre.org.uk

Fri 9 Oct 2pm – 4pm, 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Whatley Afternoon and Twilight Quarry Tours from SESC

A minibus tour to see the vast working quarry at Whatley with dramatic exposures of carboniferous limestone. For 16yrs and over.
Booking essential, Gill Odolphie 01749 840156 or gill@earthsciencecentre.org.uk

Sat 10 Oct 10am – 12pm
A History of Mining on the Mendips

A walk through time with Andrew Newton, Mendip Hills AONB Volunteer Ranger, to explore the former mined landscape around Shipham to discover ‘where there’s rock there’s brass!’
About 6 miles – strenuous, on hills, walking boots essential.
Meet at The Square, Shipham BS25 1TW. Booking essential, Andy Mallender (AONB) 01761 462338 or amallender@somerset.gov.uk

Sat 10 Oct 11am – 6pm
Family day – Fairy Cave Quarry

Family activities/worksheets, live performance 2-3pm.
‘step in stone’ artscape project in Mendip quarries.
Fairy Cave Quarry, Limekiln Lane, Oakhill, BA3 5JG.
www.stepinstone-somerset.co.uk

Sun 11 Oct 9.30am – 1pm
Workshop at SESC

Drawing, printing and creating clay and plaster relief tiles with artist, Duncan Cameron. ‘step in stone’ artscape project in Mendip quarries.
Booking essential, Fiona Campbell 01749 880394 or fionacampbell-art@sky.com

Mon 12 Oct 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Twilight Quarry Tour from SESC

Tour by minibus to see the vast working quarry at Whatley with dramatic exposures of carboniferous limestone. 16 yrs and over. Booking essential, Gill Odolphie 01749 840156 or gill@earthsciencecentre.org.uk

Tues 13 Oct 8pm – 9.30pm
‘Step in Stone’ – Guided Night Walk
Fairy Cave Quarry

Walk with poet Ralph Hoyte. ‘step in stone’, artscape project in Mendip quarries.
Fairy Cave Quarry, Limekiln Lane, Oakhill, BA3 5JG.
Booking essential, Fiona Campbell 01749 880394 or fionacampbell-art@sky.com

Weds 14 Oct 3.30pm – 4.45pm
Tor Hill Geological Mapping Walk

An exploration of the geology of Tor Hill on the edge of Wells with geologist David Rowley. The geological structure & rock types of Tor Hill will be looked at on a walk involving steep hills, stiles, and brambles. Meet outside Wells and Mendip Museum, Cathedral Green. Booking essential, Adel Avery, 01749 840240 or adel@nettlebridge.com

Weds 14 Oct 7.30pm
Search for the Lost Cave of Hutton at SESC

Illustrated talk from Alan Gray on one of the most fascinating Mendip cave mysteries. Alan will also provide a virtual tour of other Mendip caves whilst the audience remain safely above ground!

Sat 17 Oct 2pm – 4pm
Hidden History of Burrington Ham

The stories behind this busy industrial landscape of the past will be revealed by Robin Thornes and Chris Richards on a guided walk through its quiet rural landscape of today.
Meet Burrington Combe top car park, ST 489581. Booking essential: Stuart Bardsley, (AONB), 01761 462338 or sbardsley@somerset.gov.uk

Sun 18 Oct 10.30am – 4pm
Vallis Vale’s Hidden Geological Gems

Explore the fascinating geological feature of the De la Beche Unconformity followed by a fossil foray on the ancient sea bed at Tedbury Camp in Vallis Vale near Frome with geologist Elizabeth Devon. Bring picnic lunch. Meet Mells River Bridge, Great Elm, ST 749492. elizabeth@earthlearningidea.com

Tues 20 Oct 2pm – 4pm
Whatley Quarry Tours from SESC

A minibus tour to see the vast working quarry at Whatley with dramatic exposures of carboniferous limestone. 16 years and over. Booking essential, Gill Odolphie 01749 840156 or gill@earthsciencecentre.org.uk

Wed 21 Oct 10am – 3pm
Dolebury Warren Dry Stone Walling

Learn the ancient skill of dry stone walling on a practical task day with the Mendip Hills AONB volunteer team and the Avon Wildlife Trust. Booking essential, Nichola Penn (AONB), 01761 462338 or mendipvolunteers@gmail.com
Weds 21 Oct 7.30pm
Collecting Fossil Reptiles from Wiltshire
Frome Museum

Simon Carpenter presents an illustrated talk on the discovery and excavation of a large sea reptile found at the clay pit in Westbury. Simon has found many other exciting fossils and he will be bringing a selection along for people to see and hold. Adults/older children.
Frome Museum, 1 North Parade, Frome BA11 1AT. Cheese and Grain free car park. info@frome-heritage-museum.org

Sat 24 Oct 2pm
William Smith, Father of English Geology

A Mendip Society guided walk with Roger Moses to include Rugbourne Farm, the Mearns Coal Pit, and the Paulton and Timsbury Basins at the end of the Somerset Coal Canal, where William Smith, Father of English Geology, made his early discoveries two hundred years ago. £2 non members. 4.5 miles – moderate. Meet Paulton Car Park, ST 652565, BS39 7QG. Roger Moses 07977593566

Sun 25 Oct 10am – 4pm
Explore Ebbor Gorge

Fun packed family day of ‘sand pit fossil digs’, story telling, guided walks to gorge and caves and much more to reveal the reserve’s unique geology and rare archaeological finds. Ebbor Gorge National Nature Reserve, ST 520484. Car park on Priddy to Wookey road. Booking for walks of gorge and caves essential, Julie Merrett 01458 860120 or Julie.Merrett@naturalengland.org.uk

Thurs 29 Oct 10am – 1pm
Cheddar Gorge Guided Walk

A walk with the AONB Volunteer Rangers exploring England’s largest gorge with its weathered crags and pinnacles – one of our most spectacular natural sites. 5 miles – strenuous climbs.
Meet outside the National Trust shop and information centre in Cheddar Gorge, ST 468543. Booking essential, Andy Mallender (AONB) 01761 462338 or amallender@somerset.gov.uk

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