SCENERY EXPLAINED GEO-TOURS
Understanding geology is a form of time travel, know how to read the rocks and you can understand what happened in the past. These landscape and geology tours are led by geoscientist James Cresswell, but they are as technical as you want them to be. Whether you are looking for a basic gist of the reasons why the landscape looks like it does, or you want an in depth deep understanding of the earth processes at work,then these are the tours for you.
2015 Dates: June 27th – August 25th
Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays only
Start point: Your accommodation in the Brecon Beacons N.P. area, or Abergavenny train station, or Brecon bus interchange or Hay-on-Wye bus stop
£35 per person (Group size 4-7)
Minimum spend £140
TOURS IN THE FFOREST FAWR GEOPARK
(WESTERN BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK)
FFOREST FAWR GEOPARK EXPLAINED…
Bwa Maen fold
Carreg Cennen Castle
Mountain Centre – for the glaciated peaks of the Brecon Beacons
Maen Lia – a standing stone that is an upturned glacial erratic
Porth Ogrof – the largest cave opening in Wales
Dinas Rock – a large out crop of limestone
Bwa Maen Fold – an impressive fold
The Farewell Rock – Below this there is no more coal it also contains fossil trees.
Henrhyd waterfall – This the highest waterfall in South Wales. It flows over the Farewell Rock and was used in the Batman films.
Carreg Cennen Castle – This impressive ruin sits on an inlier of limestone that has been produced by faulting.
Sawdde Gorge – This gorge cuts through Silurain and Ordovician rocks and has in the past yielded imporat fossils.
Llandovery – For geologists this name is famous the world over because it is the name of an epoch in the SIlurian period and was named after this geopark town.
WHAT IS THE FFOREST FAWR GEOPARK?
The Fforest Fawr Geopark was established in 2005 and was Wales’ first Geopark. It occupies the western two thirds of the Brecon Beacons National Park and was established due to its special geology and human stories.
Read more: fforestfawrgeopark.org.uk
LLANDOVERY AND THE GOLDEN SPIKES
The town of Llandovery lends its name to the Llandovery Epoch of the Silurian Period. This is a globally used term describe the time period from 443.4 million to 433.4 million years ago.
On this tour we complete a Llandovery Town walk where we examine the different building stones.
The second part of the tour is more obscure!! We seek out 2 otherwise unremarkable outcrops of rock that form the Global Stratotype Section Points that define the Telychianand Aeronian Stages.
These stages are globally used subdivisions of the Llandovery epoch. The Telychian Age lasted from 438.5 million to 433.4 million years ago, and is named after Pen-lan-Telych Farm near Llandovery. This outcrop is in a disused quarry near the road side.
The Aeronian Age lasted from 440.8 million to 438.5 million years ago, and is named after Cemcoed-Aeron Farm near Llandovery. This outcrop is remote on a forestry track that may have to be walked to.
BRYNAMAN, GARNANT AND HENLLYS VALE
This is a walking tour based on 3 of the Fforest Fawr Geopark’s published Geotrails. The location of this tour is about 1 hour away from Tara B&B.
1. Henllys Vale 2 miles (3.5km) Learn about the coal measures and industrial heritage.
2. Rocky Ravines 2.5 miles (4km) Learn how the village of Brynaman owes its very existence to the geology on which it sits.
3. From Cwm to Cwm 5 miles (8km) We explore the geology of Cwm Pedol and Cwm Berach on the slopes of Drysgol near the village of Garnant.
TOURS IN THE EAST OF THE BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK
THE BLACK MOUNTAINS EXPLAINED…
The Black Mountains behind Felindre
Pwll y Wrach waterfall
This tour takes place very near to our base Tara B&B and explains the Old Red Sandstone that makes up the Black Mountains and the glacial processes that have carved out the present landscape.
Commin Bychan – For glacial features, and an overview of Old Red Sandstone strata.
Pwll y Wrach Nature Reserve – Where important fish fossil have been found and learn about fossil soil horizons.
Cockitt Hill – We have a short climb to find fossilised worm burrows and an explanation of the formation of nearbyLlangorse Lake.
Bwlch – We visit an old quarry and observe fossilised river channels.
Llangorse Lake was formed in the last Ice Age
IRON STONES, COAL AND A WORLD HERITAGE SITE
The Blaenavon Ironworks
The Big Pit
Llangyndir Mountain – we admire the glaciated features of the Black Mountains and learn about dolines, which are a type of sink hole.
Clydach Gorge – here we do a 2 miles (3km) walk observing iron stones and coal deposits as well as a beautiful waterfall that flow over the Farewell Rock.
Big Pit – this is part of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. Here we go on an underground tour led by former miners.
Blaenavon Ironworks – also part of the World Heritage Site. Here we learn the iron making processes of Blaenavon revolutionised the world, and additionally learn that the great great grandfather of your very own guide James Cresswell used to be the General Manager here.
This tour is also listed in our Heritage Tour section because it is equally geological and a heritage tour.
TOURS OUTSIDE THE BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK BOUNDARY
DINOSAUR FOOTPRINTS AND MORE – GLAMORGAN HERITAGE COAST
Lavernock Point for ammonites
This is a trip down to the South Wales coast about 1.5 hours from the Brecon Becons National Park.
Lavernock Point – which is the most southerly location in Wales. Here the Triassic and Jurassic boundary can be seen as well as ammonites in the wave-cut platform.
Dinosaur footprints – then we visit a location near to Sully where the best preserved Triassic dinosaur trackway in Europe can be seen.
Barry Island -we then head to Barry island and observe fossil corals in Carboniferous limestone and a site where Triassic rock over lie the Carboniferous rocks.
The order of locations visited on this tour will depend on tide times.
THE ELAN VALLEY AND THE MID WALES ORE FIELD
Pen-y-garreg dam in the Elan Valley
The mine-scape of Cwmystwyth
This tour takes us a short distance north of Tara B&B (about 45 minutes) to the beautiful scenery of Mid Wales.
Elan Valley – here we see fossilised remains of great submarine landslides called turbidites. We also admire the glaciated scenery and learn the story of the Victorian dams built to provide Birmingham with water.
Cwmystwyth – here we visit the remains of Mid Wales’ largest former metal mine. In the spoil heaps it is possible to find your own beautiful specimens of galena and chalcopyrite.
Devil’s Bridge – here we walk down to see breathtaking waterfalls that cut through the Llandovery aged rocks.
Llywernog Silver Lead Mine – here we go on an underground tour and learn how hard the life was for these metal miners.
WOOLHOPE DOME – HEREFORDSHIRE
This tour occurs 45 minutes east of Tara B&B in Herefordshire. This fascinating geological structure cuts off Woolhope making it one of the most tranquil areas of Herefordshire.
The first stop is Swardon Quarry on the western outer side of the dome. Here some fossils can be seen and there are views over Hereford towards the Black Mountains. AtPark Coppice a view of the two parallel ridges that form the eastern edge of the dome can be seen.
At Marcle Ridge Quarry we have a closer look at the Aymestry Limestone that forms the outer ridge of the dome and then walk 1.5 miles to Woolhope village finding a few fossils on the way. After our visit to the village we climb back up the inner ridge, about 1 mile, to a site with fossils and an old lime kiln. Here we eat our picnic lunch. We then find oursleves in the gap between the two ridges. We climb to top of the outside ridge and walk back to the vehicle with wonderful views of the Malvern Hills and distant Cotswolds. We then visit Wonder landslip and Woolhope Cockshootwhere faults can be seen. The day ends with a visit to Rudge End Quarry which is in the Woolhope Limestone that forms the centre of the dome. This site is also a SSSI for Botany.
INCLUDED IN THESE TOURS
Guiding and interpretation from Mountain Leader and MSc. geo-scientist.
A luxury homemade picnic lunch from Beeton For Time catering.
NOT INCLUDED IN THESE TOURS