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Those of you who have read a few of my book reviews will know that I love geo-guides to small geographical areas, rather than just the big geological scientific issues. In fact, there are lots of good UK guides like this one, to areas such as Dorset and Yorkshire, and many areas of Scotland and Wales, for example. And this is another excellent example of that genre.

Red Coast Revealed

The Jurassic Coast Trust has certainly producing some good books. As is well known, in recognition of its wonderful geology, the coast between Orcombe Rocks in southeast Devon and Old Harry Rocks in south Dorset was granted World Heritage status in December 2001. In this respect, these two guides cover the western and the eastern thirds of this remarkable coastline.

The fossil bearing rocks of the British Isles contain the remains of life from the last 2,900Ma and the UK is seen by many as the cradle of modern geology. With this is mind and using a geological map of Britain, palaeontologist Peter Doyle offers a comprehensive guide to UK fossils.

This is another of GA’s guides, this time to the geology and geomorphology of the popular holiday destination of the Castleton Area in Derbyshire. I love this area and have visited there both for the geology and the beautiful scenery.

There are only a few good books on the London Clay and its fossils, but this little guide from the Geologists’ Association is a good start for beginners, children and teenagers. Rockwatch, which published this guide, is the national geology club for young people, the junior club of the GA. Having said that, this guide does not dumb down the information it contains.

I always wait expectantly for the publication of a new Palaeontological Association guide to fossils and, when they turn up, I am never disappointed. This is undoubtedly another triumph. This guide attempts to bring the diversity of its flora and fauna together in a single work, for the first time.

The very small number of books published by the Medway Fossil and Mineral Society are without exception, wonderful and this is probably the best. And, there are very few guides on the London Clay. Therefore, this guide is invaluable and more than welcome.

This was the first GA guide I ever bought, and I suspect it is still the best. My copy is more than well-thumbed and water-damaged, through many a happy trip to the south of England to collect, what a friend describes as “white fossils in white rock”.

If Yorkshire really is ‘God’s Own County’, then clearly the Almighty is an extremely enthusiastic geologist. Just how lucky is the Yorkshire man who, on the same day, can see some of the best and most varied geology in the world, set out in glorious coastal and mountain scenery, collect superb fossils and minerals, and still be back in the pub in time for some of the best real ale in the UK? That is, Yorkshire is a geological gem that needs a good geological guide.

This small, yet informative, booklet takes you on a four-mile walk to 13 sites and through 15 million years of Earth history. The Mortimer Forest Trail is a geology trail in Shropshire that is famous for its outstanding fossils and varied geology. The trail mostly examines Silurian formations such as the Wenlock and Ludlow series.

This book is truly sumptuous, and yet is also a comprehensive discussion of William Smith’s maps (including the revolutionary ‘A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland’) and career. It is beautifully produced, printed on quality paper and the full colour illustrations are outstanding.

There are a lot of guide books to the Jurassic Coast Work Heritage Site and I have reviewed several on this site. This one is intended to provide a useful introduction to the general geology of the coastline, dealing with its formation, fossils and plate tectonics (among many other things). Specifically, the advice is provided in the context of walks – for both afternoon rambles and long distance hikes for the more committed.

Walking the East Jurassic Coast

In recent years, the Jurassic Coast Trust really has produced some great books and I have had the privilege of reviewing quite a number of them. These two companion books are intended as walking guides to the World Heritage Site – the so-called ‘Jurassic Coast’ – and the first covers the western limb from Orcombe Point to the Fleet, while the second deals with the eastern part, from Portland to Studland.

In recent years, there has been a lot written on the fossils of the UK Chalk. However, this guide was the first and is still probably the best for identifying and learning about the fossils that can be found in the chalk cliffs and pits of the UK.

The British upper Ordovician has a spectacular variety of invertebrate fossils. The marine communities in which they lived developed on a number of microcontintents and terranes, associated with tectonically active areas of the Earth’s crust.