Geologists’ Association Guide No 2 Compiled by Frank Moseley The Lake District is obviously a prime UK holiday hotspot and, each year, thousands of people visit to enjoy the walking and scenery. Equally obvious is the fact that these activities are possible as a direct…
This is a very ambitious work. The authors discuss the geology of Britain as a “geological legacy”, that is, they believe it is “an inheritance bequeathed to 11 millennia or so of its post-glacial inhabitants”. Therefore, the book covers the geological foundations of its landscape and its raw materials; and how both of these have been used by society and individuals in the visual arts and literature, as well as for mining, quarrying and architecture.
Andy Gale’s update of his guide to the Isle of Wight (this is the sixth edition) is an important change to an already excellent geological guide.
This is an interesting guide for someone like me who lives in the Southeast of England. In fact, I have commuted from London to Brighton by train, which took me through a cross-section of the Weald, which is the subject matter of this guide.
This newly published guide is another near-perfect fossil book from Siri Scientific Press, who are rapidly becoming my favourite publisher of esoteric palaeontology. This one is perhaps less arcane, as it deals with an area of Britain that has been extensively covered by various authors with varying degrees of success.
This GA guide was first published in 1995 and is a great example of the sort of guide that the association still produces – coverage of small(ish), but important areas, where the geology is both fascinating and important. This one contains general descriptions of the geology and geomorphology of this part of west Wales, with 19 separate itineraries, written by 11 experts in their fields.
This is the much anticipated 4th edition of the GA’s Yorkshire Coast guide and it was well worth the wait. From personal experience, I was aware that the previous editions were extremely good for any geologist – professional, academic or amateur – who is attracted by the wonderful scenery and fascinating geology of this part of the UK coastline. However, this new edition is altogether an even better product.
The ‘Bracklesham Beds’ are a series of predominantly soft silty sands and clayey silts laid down in a sub-tropical shallow marine environment around 46Ma. Fossils are readily eroded and can be found loose on the beach along with modern sea shells. The guide has simple maps to direct fossil hunters to the best areas for surface-picking and likely exposures when the beach sand has been removed.
As the author, John McManus, writes: “The East Neuk of Fife was blessed with a mineral resource that was relatively easy to access”. This resource was coal – the driver of the industrial revolution and, even before then, a crucial element to the area’s industrial development from medieval times (or even Roman times) to the late twentieth century.
I’ve been waiting for a book like this for a very long time and am delighted that a publication of this quality has now arrived. New books covering British palaeontology are always welcome.
Fossil Hunting along the Jurassic Coast is presented by Dr Colin Dawes, a well-known, fossil hunting guide in the world-famous palaeontological site of Lyme Regis.
The Crowood Press are really developing a nice little series of books on the landscape and geology of select regions of the British Isles, and Tony Waltham’s addition to the series about the Peak District is well worth a read. This new one follows the same format as the others – beautiful, full colour photos and diagrams, a fascinating chapter on each of the important geological and geomorphological aspects of the area (including buildings and industry), and an author who knows his stuff and can write it down with an easy and authoritative style.
This is another of the GA’s short guides, being only 21 pages long and therefore easy to put in a cagoule pocket. Importantly, the five excursions described in the guide are centred on the city of Plymouth. Therefore, the logistics necessary to visit the itineraries should be relatively easy.
This GA guide is stated to be a “Geology Teaching Trail”. Well, it may be, but when I ambled along the trail with the guide in my hand, I certainly wasn’t in a teaching situation. Rather, I was out for a nice walk and a guide to explain what I was seeing. And it did just that and the classic Silurian/Ordovician unconformity you can see was just that. Classic!
West Dorset is rightly famous for its fossils, but few people visit its wonderful, fossiliferous cliffs to look at them as landforms, rather than as an endless source of ammonites and belemnites. This guide does just that and, covers a series of itineraries in the context of landform type.
This is one of GA’s little guides to a very specific area. This one is West Cornwall, a holiday destination that I recently visited during which I spent some time looking at the geology, along with the gardens and archaeological sites.
Shropshire is one of my favourite areas for both geology and fossil collecting. The Silurian of this beautiful area is fascinating and, if you can get permission to get into one of the commercial quarries (and you will need permission), then the results will be remarkable.
This is another lovely guide by the GA to an area that perhaps readers would not associate with good geology. But, of course, that is because of its title, because the areas like Pendle Hill and Derbyshire are wonderful, not just to visit for their geology, but also for their holiday appeal.
This GA guide is intended as a major guidebook to the exposures of highly significant Precambrian, Carboniferous and Permo-Triassic sediments, through to Jurassic rocks of the East Midlands. Personally, it is an area I only partly know (I know Edale in the Peak District quite well) and, for that reason, is an interesting set of locations for me.
I like local geological guides, which aim to get you out and about, visiting areas you might not have known are worth a daytrip. And this is a good example. I sat down and read it cover to cover, as it is only 90 pages long. And I now really want to visit this bit of Kent coastline. Largely concentrating on the Upper Cretaceous Chalk, this guidebook explains and illustrates what seems to be some marvellous geology that can also be explored during what could be a lovely day out on the beach.
This is a new edition of the classic little guide on Blue John by Trevor Ford, who has now sadly passed away. It is published by the East Midlands Geology Society and has been revised, updated and expanded by Trevor’s colleagues, Tony Waltham and Noel Worley.
The aim of the guide is to help professional and interested amateur geologists to investigate the rocks themselves and to put them in a modern scientific context.
I love the Scottish Highlands and I am proud to say that I have climbed many of the mountains covered in the glossy hardback. But, as I say in the other book review on this page, it is more than a picture book. It contains some excellent and fascinating science explaining their outstanding beauty.
After having favourably reviewed the first two books in this three part series, I must admit I was very much looking forward to the publication of this last one. And, of course, I wasn’t disappointed. This is the third in a series of guides to safe and responsible fossil collecting along (this time), the East Dorset coast from the Chalk cliffs at Bat’s Head, across what are some of Dorset’s more remote coastal locations, to Hengistbury Head.
I have reviewed some excellent previous guides in this series (Iceland: Classic Geology in Europe 3), but this one is closer to home and covers an area that I have fond memories of from my Munro-bagging days. This is more a companion guide for those walking in the Highlands, especially those on geological field trips.