Quantock Hills Blog

Young Rangers and 200 million year old Quantocks

- Mendip Young Rangers come to the Quantocks

Tim Russell

Posted by Tim Russell on 11 June 2013

Young Rangers and 200 million year old Quantocks Recently the Quantock Hills were host to some special guests: the Mendip Hills AONB Young Rangers!
14 Young Rangers made the trek down from the Mendips to the Northern end of the Quantocks, to Kilve Pill where they were met by Tim and Nichola, who were their guides for the day.

Kilve Pill is steeped in history; the ‘pill’ being an old harbour, where smugglers would have brought their bounty ashore and an old brick oil retort, built in the 1920s to extract oil from the shale found in the cliffs.  The beach itself is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with the cliffs layered with limestone and shale which is embedded with fossils.

The day started with a fossil hunt along Somerset’s Jurassic Coast, with Tim explaining about the local geology and the unique landscape. When these limestone rocks were being formed, around 200 million years ago, the land mass was in a tropical sea - a little different from our blustery day!  The further along the beach we wandered, the more fossils we saw, with ammonites being spotted up in the cliffs, being exposed for the first time in hundreds of millions of years!

Along the walk we stopped to look at interesting finds; layers and layers of ammonites that must have died on mass - whether during a seasonal event such as a mass spawning or climatic changes such as drought; and an exciting (but unconfirmed) find of a fossilised leaf.  We also learned about the ‘golden spike’ a globally recognised point in the rocks that marks a change in geological time.

After lunch, there was a short walk back along the cliff tops to the ranger truck to collect black bags and litter pickers for a litter pick along the beach.  The beach was quite clean, but the Young Rangers worked hard and found an assortment of items that had been left behind.

Although it was breezy, the sun shone and we all had an ice cream before jumping back in the minibus and heading up to the hill tops to Wilmot’s Pool.  Our delve into the history of the area continued with a look at a Bronze Age burial mound next to the pool. It was great to see a contrast to the coast; to talk about the differing habitats and to spot some Quantock ponies grazing nearby.

All too soon, it was time to head home but a good time was had by all - we look forward to seeing them again soon!




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