Many Silurian fossils, such as crinoid pieces, corals and brachiopods, can be collected at this National Trust managed limestone escarpment. The tourist information centre and museum in Much Wenlock is also worth a visit to learn a little more about the location and to view fossils from the area.
♦ Free parking can be found in the National Trust car park at Presthope, about 5km from Much Wenlock, on the B4371 road to Church Stretton.
♦ There is a board with information about the location within the car park. This also gives details of several walks throughout the area. The best walk to follow to find fossils is the Lime Kiln Walk, marked in orange.
♦ This walk takes you over easy terrain, through pleasant surroundings. When you come to the large, fenced-off quarry on the right of the path, look to your left and you will see an outcrop of fossiliferous rocks. Plenty of fallen blocks can be investigated to find various fossils preserved in the limestone.
♦ Once fossils have been collected, the circular walk can be followed until the car park is reached. Or you can retrace your steps the way you came – this being a shorter route.
♦ Ref: 52.59327°N, 2.57304°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Many fossils can be found below an outcrop of Wenlock limestone about a third of the way into the walk. There are plenty of loose blocks to collect from and nearly every rock is fossiliferous.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦ – The exposures are found alongside a well-managed path, among pleasant surroundings. To complete the circular walk takes about half an hour to an hour.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦♦ – There is plenty of free parking in the National Trust car park. The walk is signposted and the paths are well maintained.
TYPE: – Fossils are found in blocks below a cutting in the limestone. Nearly every block contains fossils.
Reef fossils, such as crinoid stem parts, corals and brachiopods, are all abundant. The majority of fallen blocks contain fossils, with many being full of small pieces of crinoid. In fact, it is impossible to leave this location without finding something. However, collect in moderation, so that fossils can continue to be found by others. Many fossiliferous rocks can be found on the path next to the quarry and all you need to do is pick them up.
If tumbled in a stone tumbler, broken pieces of coral fossils polish up well. Very fine grades of silicon carbide grit are needed in the final stages of working these types of rocks. A succession of 80, 220, 600 and 1200 grits is ideal, with cerium oxide powder being used in the final polishing stage.
Wenlock Edge is a scarp of Silurian limestone which runs for over thirty kilometres (18.6miles) from Craven Arms to Much Wenlock. It is a prominent and well-known feature, of interest for its extensive exposures of rocks of the Much Wenlock Limestone Formation (Silurian)
These are the finest sections available in the Much Wenlock Limestone and they provide the best examples of reef development during the Silurian Period in Britain. The limestones contain a rich fossil fauna, and many fossil species, particularly of corals, brachiopods, trilobites and ostracods.
Wenlock Edge is a fairly unthreatening environment. However, blasting occurs in the quarry next to the path and you may be asked to wait while this is carried out.
Most fossils at Wenlock Edge can be picked up loose from the ground, so no equipment is required. However, bags to put your finds in are essential. In places, the path can be a little muddy, so walking boots or wellingtons are recommended.
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 – Wenlock
♦ <a href=”http://www.ukfossils.co.uk” UK Fossils Network