"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Geology in a Town Centre and Exploring Somewhere New

I had to go into Solihull Town Centre yesterday and, as I had my camera with me, I thought I would show you some of the interesting examples of geology that can be found in Solihull.

As soon as you enter the Touchwood Shopping Centre from the car park and look down you can spot examples of fossil ammonites and belemnites in the slabs of Jurassic limestone that make up the flooring. Here an ammonite.

Must admit to getting some rather strange looks when I took the above photo!

In the churchyard of nearby St Alpheges near to the church wall can be found a boulder which is a glacial erratic. Erratics can be of varying sizes and are pieces of broken rock carried along by glaciers during an Ice Age and finally left far from their original source. This particular erratic is believed to be from the North of England and could be quartzite.

Gravestones and memorials in churchyards are often made of interesting rocks and I think the "Winged Angel" memorial below is composed of red granite.

The War Memorial is made of Portland Limestone

and contains some moving stone sculptures

"The George" - a timbered pub

has layered sandstone below the timbers

If you examine the wall by the Post Office which is made of Hornton Stone - an iron rich limestone (the iron content gives it the lovely honey colouring) from Edge Hill, you can find lots of fossil shells such as Brachiopods

The "Family Outing" statue has a base of dolerite - an igneous rock formed by magma (molten rock) rising to or near the Earth's surface and subsquently cooling to form solid rock.

Some of the shops and buildings round the town centre contain examples of many different types of rock such as limestones, serpentinite,granite and sandstones and I will take some photos of these another time. After getting more strange looks as I peered at the post office stones I decided to call it a day!

The town centre also has some rather pretty flower displays at the moment and is looking very colourful.

Late yesterday morning I was in the vicinity of Earlswood Lakes and decided to pay a quick visit to Clowes Wood and New Fallings Coppice.

This a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Reserve which I have been meaning to visit for ages. Its a large area of ancient woodland covering around 110 acres and was the first reserve owned by the Trust.

It looks as though someone has started to build a den here!

Around fifty species of birds breed here although sadly I didn't see many today - just the usual woodland species such as roving parties of blue and great tits and several blackbirds. I saw what seemed like dozens of robins although I suspect it was one individual that was following me around!

Considering what a poor year it has been in our garden for Speckled Wood butterflies, I was pleased to see lots of this species spiralling around in their territorial displays. Apparently the site is the richest woodland in the north-west of the county for macro moths including the very local light orange underwing!

This is a reserve I would definitely like to go back to and explore more. There were some interesting fungi - sorry no pics the light was that poor the photos are all blurred. Brian likes woodland walks so hopefully I can persuade him to visit with me.


"Solihull Town Geological Trail" produced by The Warwickshire Geological Conservation Group - full of fascinating snippets about Solihull Town Centre geology and containing a Geology Trail which is easy to follow.


Bovey Belle said...

I have been showing people some 5 million year old Trilobite relations in Llandeilo flags this morning! I had a lovely chat about Geology with one lady, but believe me, she knew more than I did!

It just shows what you can see when you look.

Loved the woodland too - and I love Fungi spotting too, though my husband has always thought it a strange interest to have!

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much for your comment! Fascinating to hear about your Trilobite relations in Llandeilo flags :) Must admit Trilobites themselves are my favourite organisms of all time! Have quite a collection of fossils:)

So glad you liked the wood - I like Fungi spotting but even using my new id guides, my id skills are poor and I would never pick any to eat!! But I am always amazed by all the different varieties you can find. I find slime moulds fascinating and apparently they can be found in the wood mentioned in the blog.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) A very interesting post as always with lovely photos too. I know next to nothing about geology but can see that it could be a fascinating subject.

I thought the war memorial sculptures were very poignant, I do love sculpture of all types. I particularly liked the modern 'family outing', I thought that was beautiful! The Hornton stone brought me up short! You're close to home again with mention of Hornton and Edgehill ;-)

Those floral displays are beautiful! I always wonder how often they dead head them, the ones you saw must be done pretty often to keep them looking that good I would think.

Your new reserve looks like a lovely place to visit, I shall look forward to you going again eventually. I had to laugh regarding the Robins :-) When a birder says they have seen three or four of a certain bird as they walk around their patch I often wonder if it is actually the same bird each time :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Shy Songbird - Hi Jan - thanks so much for your lovely comment :)

I liked the war memorial sculptures too - I seem to remember the memorial was renovated recently. Some of the photos turned out better than others depending on the light!

I was hoping we might go back to Upton House recently as Brian was on holiday for a week but we did the Caterham 7 day instead and Caterham was based up in Leicestershire and you are only allowed so many "free" miles. The Hornton stone did remind me of Cotswold stone - really should know the difference between the Cotswold stones - will do a bit of research!!

I thought the flower displays were rather stunning visually (although sadly as so often with these type of displays I suspect they might not be over attractive to pollinators!) - as you say they must take an awful lot of looking after!!

Had a smile at your last paragraph :)

Toffeeapple said...

Your blog is always so interesting. I can't think of a single place here where the stones are interesting.

Your woodland looks lovely and it is good to hear about the revival of the butterflies.

The memorial sculptures are very emotive aren't they?

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Many thanks for your lovely comment.

To be fair I did have a leaflet re: the geology as some of the stones I would have missed!

I thought the memorial sculptures were rather moving too.