Formerly part of Ketton Quarry, Top Grange Quarry has now been turned into a geological trail for anyone to visit and collect fossils. However, it has become quite overgrown, but you can still easily find fossils.
♦ From Ketton, take the minor road to the west, out of the town. You will pass the main entrance of Ketton Quarry. Just past this, you will see a signpost to an industrial park on the right.
♦ Take the industrial park road, and follow it all the way to the end. You will see a signpost saying “Geological Trail” on the left, near the top of the road. Park in the car park next to the start of the trail.
♦ Ref: 52.637295, -0.555134
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – This old quarry is overgrown, but the Blisworth Limestone is so rich in fossils that, in spite of this, you can still find good fossils by searching through the loose rocks on the quarry floor.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – This geological trail is suitable for older children and families. Take care during the spring and summer, as the quarry is also home to adders. These are mostly found at the start of the trail and parking area.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – The geological trail has been put together to give as many people a chance to explore the geology of the site. For this reason, access has been made easy, with parking at the start of the trail.
TYPE: – Fossils can be found by searching the loose rocks along the geological trail. Although hammering the bedrock is not permitted, you can still break open loose rocks. This is a geological trail and free for anyone to visit. Parking is provided at the start of the trail. The only restriction is that hammering the bedrock is not permitted. In particular, the bedrock at the start of the quarry must not be touched, but the rest of the trail contains loose material.
Top Grange Geological Trail is the disused part of the famous Ketton Quarry, which is a huge quarry, over one mile long (see our guide to Ketton Quarry). The working part of Ketton Quarry requires permission to access and this is only given to geological societies for group visits. However, the trail in Top Grange Quarry was created by Stamford Geological Society and is free for anyone to visit.
When you first get to the quarry, you can see a cliff face of Blisworth Limestone. This must not be touched. Continue along the trail and you will eventually walk down a slope into two parts of the old disused quarry. To the left, there are plenty of loose rocks to look through. You will also notice Blisworth Clay around the site, which has slipped.
The loose rocks are Blisworth Limestone and can contain ammonites, brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, corals, echinoids, sharks’ teeth and bones. The site doesn’t look very promising, but the rocks are rich in fossils.
This old quarry is now very overgrown and it is not now possible to identify distinct beds. The rocks however, cover the Bajocian (Jurassic ~175mya) to Bathonian (Jurassic ~165mya) stages. The Blisworth Limestone can be seen all around the quarry, in the scree and loose rocks. At the start of the trail, a part of the cliff face has been left to show the red. In addition, the Blisworth clay can be seen slipped everywhere in the quarry.
This old quarry has been made into a geological trail. It is fairly safe, providing you use common sense. The only danger to look out for is snakes in the summer (but these are rare and mostly harmless). However, if you happen to pick up rocks under which one is hiding, you could be bitten and, in extremely rare cases, this can be fatal.
You will need a hammer and safety goggles to split open the oolitic rocks. The fossils can be fragile, so should be wrapped up well and placed in containers.
This site is a site of special scientific interest (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, download the PDF from Natural England.