From the part of the Glyndwr’s Way walk that passes through the woods on the hill called Gallt yr Ancr west of Meifod, fossiliferous sandstone blocks can be searched for fossils. When split, these can yield excellent brachiopods.
♦ Parking can be found in a small layby next to the start of the walk into the woods at Gallt yr Ancr.
♦ Walk into the woods and, after about a hundred metres, you will come to a gate. The hillside to your left has many sandstone blocks scattered over it.
♦ Just past the gate, there is a side path that climbs into the woods. Blocks can also be found close to this path.
♦ Ref: 52.70895°N, 3.26565°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – The right sort of sandstone blocks yield many good quality fossils. These blocks are fairly abundant, but can be difficult to find.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – It is a short walk into the woods over easy terrain. Children should have no problems with this location.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦♦ – The hill is very close to Meifod and the path into the woods is short and easy.
TYPE: – Fossils are found in the sandstone blocks that litter the hillside. These are largely derived from the old quarries that once existed in the area.
Many sandstone blocks have evidence of seams of brachiopods within them. These are shown by hollow brachiopod sections in the sides of the rock. When split, these will often yield brachiopod assemblages on the bedding planes. Small trilobite pieces can also sometimes be found among the brachiopods.
You should look for these blocks at the sides of the side path as it rises into the woods after the gate, approximately 100m into the wood. There are also blocks to be found a few metres off of the path just before the gate.
The rugged hills around Meifod are composed of hard sandstone of the Ordovician of 450 Mya.
Gallt Yr Ancr Hill is part of the Berwyns range, where the Hirnantian aged rocks (445.2_443.8 Mya) of the Caradoc series expose the fossiliferous Gaer Fawr Formation, with the younger sandstones of the Nod Glas Formation above, the latter observed at Gallt yr Ancr as a thin formation of black shales with phosphatic concretions immediately below it.
As this is a remote location, it is best to visit with others. A mobile phone should also be taken and someone should be told where you are going and when you expect to be back.
As this is a peaceful setting alongside a tranquil path, it is best to take blocks home to split them there. If this is the case, just a sturdy bag and some packing material is required. When home, the blocks can be split using a geological or lump hammer, together with safety glasses. However, a geological hammer and glasses may be useful to break up any blocks onsite.
There is a public footpath into the woods, stone blocks can be collected within a few metres of the path.