This is an unusual location, where a public footpath runs right through the middle of a very large, newly re-opened quarry, which was originally a series of smaller, disused quarries. The quarry has no gates or barriers and contains a huge variety of rocks to explore, including a glacial bed, where you can find just about anything. This site also has areas of deep water, so care should be taken at all times.
♦ Site now closed as has been turned into an housing estate.
♦ Ref: 52.500549, -0.635190
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – There are plenty of fossils to be found. However fossils from the bedrock tend to be poorly preserved moulds. These are mostly found in the sandstones and ironstones, whereas the limestones contain very few fossils. The most fossils can be found in the overlying superficial deposits, which are glacial in origin, containing various Jurassic erratics.
CHILDREN: ♦ – Although this is a public footpath, the site is far too dangerous for children. As well as quarry vehicles, the site has many areas of deep water and cliff faces, and is used at weekends by cyclo-cross bikes making the most of this open site.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – The quarry is not marked on OS maps, with only a few old disuse quarries appearing along the footpath. However, this re-worked site has created a very large quarry over the top of a public footpath, which can be viewed on Google Earth. The footpath has not been diverted, so it technically runs through the middle of this quarry, which has no barriers, signage or gates. The walk is fairly easy, but there is only enough parking for a couple of cars at the entrance to the public footpath.
TYPE: – This location is now a working quarry, which joined all the former disused quarries together. It has been dug over a public footpath, which now runs through the middle of the site.
This is one of those locations where you spend more time trying to cover the vast area and trying to find your way around the incredible variation in rock types, than you do eventually looking for fossils. These can be found in most of the rocks, but they are not always obvious, as they can be hard to spot and often poorly preserved. The best fossils are actually found in the glacial beds, which contain a variety of Jurassic erratics. Belemnites, ammonites and, in particular, Gryphaea shells are commonly found in these.
The remainder of the fossils at the quarry mostly consist of bivalves, especially in the limestones and ironstones. For those interested in minerals, an entire bed of selenite can be seen at the top of the red-coloured sandstone (the Northampton Sand Formation). This sandstone also has sporadic pockets of shells.
There is a huge variety of rocks here, which can be confusing, because the upper beds are glacial, being part of the Oadby Member that was laid down 2mya. This formation contains all kinds of erratics, such as mudstones, shale, sandstones, limestones and chert.
The main bedrock is the Northampton Sand Formation (Jurassic, Aalenian-aged of about 175mya), at the top of which is a red-stained, hard sandstone, becoming softer at lower levels. This formation includes sand (which is quarried) within layers of ironstone. It is part of the Inferior Oolite Group. At the top of the Northampton Sand Formation is a layer of rock full of selenite.
The Rutland Formation of the Great Oolite Group (Bajocian –Bathonian) is also present and consists of sandstones and limestones, along with the Lower Lincolnshire Limestone Member (Bajocian), part of the Lincolnshire Limestone Formation.
Common sense should always be used when visiting any site. This is a working quarry, so take notice of moving vehicles and machinery at all times and wear a hard hat and hi-vis shirt. The quarry also has a few areas of deep water, which are dangerous, and a few steep cliff faces. Also watch out for falling rocks from the cliff faces.
A hammer is essential, because most of the fossils will be found in large limestone blocks. However, a pick will also come in handy for the glacial beds, which can contain hard concretions with fossils inside.
This very large quarry has been built over a public footpath. This has not been diverted, so it technically runs through the middle of this quarry, which has no barriers, signage or gates. We advise that you ask permission before entering during working days or that you visit during weekends, when the quarry is not working. In the future, the footpath may well be re-routed around the perimeters of this quarry, but at the time of writing, this has not yet occurred.