Shaped by Natural Forces

  • Rocks with fossil shells Rocks with fossil shells

    The oldest rocks in the Quantock Hills are over 400 million years old! There have been many changes of scenery in that time. How do we know? Because the rocks themselves, and what is in them, give us clues.

    There are fossil shells in these very old rocks. This shows that the rocks began as layers of sand and mud on the floor of a tropical sea. The fossils are the remains of some of the creatures who lived there.

  • A Quantock volcano A Quantock volcano

    There was even a small volcano in that sea! Some of its lava is preserved in the Hills.

  • Desert Quantock Desert Quantock

    About 300 million years ago these old rocks were arched upwards out of the sea to make the Quantock Hills. These were probably bigger than we see now. Land built up around the hills.

About 200 million years ago the earth became much wetter. The sea got deeper and washed over the land. Layers of grey mud and the remains of sea creatures settled on top of the red rock. The mud turned into grey rock. This happened over and over again.

  • Fossils in shale


Click on the framed picture for tour stop 1

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  • Rock layers Rock layers

    Since then, the scenery has gradually changed to what we see now. The old hard rocks of the hills still stand high, but the softer red and grey rocks round them have been partly worn away by the rivers and the sea.

During the Ice age the land was frozen solid.

About 10,000 years ago, it got warmer and the ice and snow melted. Powerful torrents of melt water carved deep valleys into the rock of the hills. These valleys are called "combes" in the Quantocks.