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Classic Geosites of the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark
Sunday 8th October 2023


We have partnered with our friends at the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark to deliver a one day pre-conference field trip co-led by Graham Worton, Geopark Lead and Keeper of Geology at Dudley Council, and Colin Prosser, Principal Specialist in Geodiversity at Natural England. Delegates will visit many of the sites that have gained the Black Country Geopark its reputation for exceptionally preserved Palaeozoic fossils and best practice in the management of urban geosites. 

Convener: Graham Worton & Colin Prosser

Departure from: Central Loughborough, 9 am.
Terms: Optional event, not included in the registration fee. 

Fees: £79 – The fees include the price for coach travel, paid entrances, English-speaking guided tours, lunch, dinner, and refreshments. We recommend delegates on this field trip arrange accommodation in Loughborough for the nights before and after the field trip - accommodation is not included in the field trip fee. Book through the registration system.

Participants: Max number 49. 


An introduction to the geology, mining heritage and palaeontology of the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark. Exploring the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic highlights of the geology and an insight into its important role in the Industrial Revolution. The itinerary includes: 

Locality 1, Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust. This Geosite is an underground boat excursion into the Silurian limestone strata of the Castle Hill anticline – a palaeozoic inlier within the Coal Measures strata of the coalfield.  Temperature down at the mine tunnels at this time of year can be as low as 5°C: We recommend you to take a warm coat. 

Locality 2, Wrens Nest National Nature reserve – A tour of the famous geological Silurian – Homerian strata. A classic palaeontological locality and a key locality associated with Murchison’s definition of the Silurian System in 1839. This site has been significant in evolving many urban Geoconservation practices in the UK

Locality 3, Saltwells National Nature reserve – A tour of key exposures in the newest geological National Nature Reserve in the UK. Here the geology of the Carboniferous Coal Measures of the coal field will be explored and the late palaeozoic earth movements and basaltic igneous intrusions.

Locality 4, Blue Rock Quarry designated Site of Importance for Nature Conservation to examine some classic intrusion features and a discussion of the role of local community groups in Geoconservation in the Geopark.

Locality 5, Barr Beacon Quarries & Viewpoint – Extensive exposures of red Permo-Triass sandstones, breccias and pebble beds and a discussion of the ‘Purple Horizons’ project and its integrated approach to Geoconservation with ecological habitat restoration/ Nature Recovery.

(possible additional locality if time allows and as a trip closing photo opportunity Locality 6, Brownhills mining sculptures Silver Miner Sculpture (‘Jigger’) – and the Walsall Wood Colliery Headgear sculpture.


Before returning to Loughborough by coach, there will be an evening meal and networking opportunity.

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Bradgate Park - Charnwood Forest Geopark
Tuesday 10th October 2023


On the afternoon of Tuesday 10th October, all delegates registered for the Symposium will have a field trip to Bradgate Park. This is included as part of the registration fee and does not require additional payment or registration. The field trip is an opportunity to see a selection of the many lithologies within the Geopark, and the complex challenges for geoconservation these present. The field trip will include discussion on new innovative conservation management strategies, and also interpretation.

Coach travel, admission to Bradgate Park, and a guided tour is included for all delegates as part of registration. No additional booking is required.

We recommend delegates bring sturdy footwear, waterproof coats, and warm clothes as the weather can be unpredictable.



A Journey Through the Geosites of the Charnwood Forest Geopark
Thursday 12th - Saturday 14th October 2023

Convener: Jack Matthews, Charnwood Forest Geoheritage Interpretation and Conservation Officer

Departure from: 9 am from central Loughborough each day.
Terms: Optional event, not included in the registration fee. 

Fees: £ 289 – The fees include the price for coach travel, paid entrances, English-speaking guided tours, lunch, dinner, and refreshments. Delegates on this field trip will need to arrange their own accommodation in Loughborough for the nights of the field trip. We recommend extending your stay at where you are booked in for the Symposium meeting. Accommodation is not included in the field trip fee. Book through the registration system.

Participants: Max number 49. 


An introduction to the geological heritage, management, and conservation of the Charnwood Forest Geopark. The field trip will explore the classic geosites of the region, as well as many forgotten sites that are integral to telling the area's story.  Attendees will have opportunities to visit a number of the Ediacaran fossil sites within the area, and see recent interpretation and management work that is helping to conserve these internationally significant sites. Visits to historic and modern quarries will examine the complex relationship between resource extraction and geoconservation. While our most prominent geology is Ediacaran in age, geosite visits will also include Cambrian, Ordovician, Carboniferous, Triassic, and Quaternary geology. Geosites stops will also facilitate discussion on novel ways of exploring geoheritage, including through the Geopark education programme, using local buildings, and by visiting the Rothley Wine Estate! Site included in the itinerary will be announced shortly. Localities include:

Bardon Hill, the highest point in Leicestershire and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Bardon Hill provides stunning views across the East Midlands, as well as down into the nearby Bardon Quarry. Here we will discuss the ongoing quarrying in Charnwood Forest, explore the amazing section through a Triassic valley, and witness first hand the link between biodiversity and geodiversity that is so well expressed at this site.

British Geological Survey, Keyworth, based not far from the Geopark in the village of Keyworth, our trip to the HQ of the British Geological Survey will allow field trip attendees to view the many bedding plane casts that were made of Charnwood Forest's fossil surface. This rare behind-the-scenes tour of the Survey's collections will not only include the fossils of Charnwood Forest, but also a tour of the drill core collections.

Forest Rock, Woodhouse Eaves, a small and often forgotten site within Charnwood Forest, this quaint geosite nestled in the heart of the village of Woodhouse Eaves previously provided stone to build the local church and school house. Today it is increasingly known as a site for bouldering, and has one of the highest number of difficult bouldering problems in the country.

Beacon Hill, based at the hear of the Geopark, this locality is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and as well as providing superb outcrops of the deep marine sediments that dominate much of Charnwood Forest's precambrian strata, the summit gives stunning views that stretch miles across the East Midlands, allowing us to explore the wider earth history of this part of England.

Morley Quarry, a local Nature Reserve and former quarry, this beautiful geosite to the south of Shepshed hosts some of the most ancient rocks within Charnwood Forest, and allows visitors to get up close with the striking Ediacaran-Triassic unconformity that is visible in many of the region's working quarries.

Hill Hole Quarry, this local Nature Reserve and former quarry is the type locality for the famous rock Markfieldite, a granophyric microdiorite that has been used in construction across England.

Charnwood Lodge, this Site of Special Scientific Interest is also the geologically oldest of England's National Nature Reserves. The site is managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, and allows us to explore in greater depth the volcanic history of Charnwood Forest, through the famous 'Bomb Rocks'.

Outwoods, A Site of Special Scientific Interest near the town of Loughborough that incorporates ancient woodland alongside characteristic craggy outcrops, some of which include rare Ediacaran fossils.

Rothley Wine Estate, based in the village of Rothley, this vineyard in the south of the Geopark produces a number of wines that express the Triassic geology and Quaternary sediments of the area. Rothley Wine Estate is one of the Geopark's flagship partners for the new Charnwood Forest Geoproducts range. The visit will include a tour of the vineyard, and wine tasting. 

Mount St Bernard's Abbey, based in the hear of Charnwood Forest, this is the only Cistercian monastery in England. The building uses a number of local rock types that were quarried by the monks. The designers of the Abbey include Pugin, known for his work on the British Houses of Parliament, and Railton, known for Nelson's Column in London. The visit to the Abbey will also include a tour of the Trappist Brewery on site, where the ale "Tynt Meadow" is produced.

Additional sites will also be announced.

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