This location consists of a series of locations along a designated geological route in Mortimer Forest. You can collect a large number of superb corals, brachiopods, bivalves and trilobites from various cuttings and all the fossils are in superb condition. It is an excellent walk too.
♦ Leave Ludlow on the old trunk road down Broad Street or Old Street and follow the winding road up and around the town, over a bridge and past a couple of viewing points. After about 3km, ignore the first obvious lay-by on the right opposite the Forestry Commission entrance and carry on for another kilometre. You will see another lay-by with a lovely view of nearby hills. From the car park on the road side, you need to follow a forestry track.
♦ Walk along the track until it is crossed by twin overhead electric cables on pylons. Go past these and continue for a kilometre and a half until you get to an obvious narrow track on your right. This is a steep track heading down a hill. You can collect fossils from both the top of the track and at bottom.
♦ The track levels out for a few metres and you will see a narrow overgrown path on the right, leading down to a track on the official path. Follow the track ahead and left leaving the aqueduct behind you. After about a kilometre, you will see a bigger, second aqueduct. The track bends to the left with an open area ahead. There is a small gorge and depression here. You can collect from the cutting within the gorge to the right.
♦ Follow the track round the aqueduct. A very steep path goes left and uphill, just before a wooden seat and an electricity pole. Turn left up this path and it will lead to a forestry road. Continue up the hill to the top, where you will see a fantastic view of the aqueduct in the foreground. Many years ago, there was a clearance of trees here, when plentiful fossils could be found and may still be. Above the cutting is the main forest track. On the other side of the track is another cutting containing many large shells.
♦ From the main track above the hilltop clearance, turn left and follow the track around, you will find a small exposure full of small brachiopods. Then return to the last location and continue past following the main forestry track back to the car park.
♦ Ref: 52.35718°N, 2.76698°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Mortimer Forest has lots of fossils to find at several locations along the walk.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – This location is suitable for children.
ACCESS: ♦♦ – Mortimer Forest is easy to find, but there is a fair walk.
TYPE: – Fossils are found in cuttings along the walk.
There is a variety of fossils to collect from Mortimer Forest. These include brachiopods, cephalopods, trilobites, worm tubes, corals and crinoids. The forest also has some very large bivalves in superb condition, especially up in the hill top clearance. On the way towards the main locations is an opportunity to collect brachiopods and other shells by simply picking them up from the footpath. You will notice a fairly steep hill, which is quite rocky. It is worth stopping at this location.
You will notice a depression and gorge as the track bends around. There are a few small cuttings here of Silurian mudstones and shales. Brachiopods, cephalopods, trilobites and worm tubes can all be found. The best finds can be made by searching in the scree slopes or in the small exposures further down the gorge. The best location is a fair walk from the second location described above, as it is at the top of a very steep hill, but worth the walk. Corals, brachiopods and crinoids can be found, including some giant shells. There are two good areas to collect from – the first is the obvious cutting with large rocks scattered around and the second is above this cutting, on the other side of the main forestry track. This is where most of the large shells can be found. There is a particular zone packed with them and you should look horizontally in line with the top of the cutting and vertically approximately 1 to 1.5m high.
From the main forestry track above the cutting, walk right and follow the track round to a second small exposure, where many small brachiopods can be collected. Further exposures can be found by heading back to the third location and continuing along the main track road, which will also be a quicker route back to the car park.
The geology is Silurian and is 423 to 426myrs old.
There are no specific threats or dangers at this location, but common sense should be used at all locations for any potential dangers that may be present.
These locations are quite a distance apart and it is highly recommended that you take hiking gear, a rucksack and good walking boots etc. Also, ensure that you have food and drink. A compass and GPS navigation device may also come in handy. A hammer, chisel and eye protection should be taken, and maybe a small pick and wedging device if you can carry them. Take paper and good wrapping material, as some fossils can be fragile. A pen, paper, labels and so on are a good idea, so that you can separately record where you found the fossils.
This site is an SSSI. This means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted. For full information about the reasons for the status of the site and restrictions please download the PDF from Natural England – SSSI Information – Mortimer Forest