Geology Field Trips in Wales and the Marches
We offer geology Field Trips in Wales and the Marches. Field trips can be done by small groups (2 – 7) using my vehicle as a form of ‘Sightseeing Tour’ . They can also be done by a larger group like a U3A or University using shared cars or your organisations’ large vehicle. We also have a programme for schools towards the bottom of this page.
Large Groups (10 people minimum, picnic lunch not included) – £10 per person per day.
Small Group (2 – 7 people) – £40 per person per day + a shared fuel cost. Picnic lunch included. The Pembrokeshire trip is 2 days so has an additional accommodation cost.
Field Trip Titles
1. Bwa Maen, Henrhyd waterfall and Cwm Grelech geoheritgae trail
2. Stanner Rocks and the Strinds Quarry
3. Llyn-y-Fan Fach, Mydffai and Llandovery
4. Glamorgan coast and dinosaur footprints
5. Cribarth and Penwyllt
6. Elan Valley and the Mid Wales Ore Field
7. Woolhope Dome
8. Two day Pembrokeshire trip.
9. Clydach Gorge and the Blaenavon World Heritage Site
10.Trilobites around Llandrindod Wells
11. Old Red Sandstone of the Black Mountains
12. Henllys Vale, the Black Mountain Quarries and Carreg Cennan Castle
13. Craig Cerrig Gleisiad, and Myndydd Illutud
14. The Gower
15. Glamorgan Heritage Coast – Western area
16. Ystardfellte waterfalls and Porth y Ogrof cave
17. Merthyr Tydfil
From 2013 to 2016 we took Hay U3A on all the Field Trips listed to the left, and could do the smae for your U3A.
Hay U3A in Pembrokeshire.
For our Schools Programme please scroll down towards the bottom of this page.
Example ITINERARIES of Some of Our Field Trips
Dinosaur footprints and more – glamorgan heritage coast
Lavernock Point for ammonites
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. It is also the discovery site of the Welsh dinosaur found in 2015.
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
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 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. At Park 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 Cockshoot where 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.
Two Day Trip to Pembrokeshire
The Ladies Cove anticline, Saunderfoot
Variscan Fold, Stack Pole Quay
Saundersfoot – to see the ‘Ladies Cove Anticline’ this spectacular fold is in the Carboniferous coal measures.
Stackpole Quay – to see Varsican folds and faults in the Carboniferous limestone, it is also possible to find fossils in the cliffs.
Skrinkle Haven – Here the spectacular ‘Church Doors’ can be see and the contact between Devonian Old Red Sandstone and Carboniferous limestone can be seen.
Tenby’s North Beach – to see the Millstone Grit of the lower most Carboniferous
Night spent in Tenby
Whitesands Beach, St Davids – This classic geological locality has sedimentary rocks of several Cambrian series. It is also possible to see Precambrian tuffs (volcanic ash) and Ordovician aged igneous intrusions.
St Davids’s Cathedral – Not only does this lunch stop give us the opportunity to observe this incredible building, we can have a close look at the purple Cambrian sandstone from which it was built.
Abereiddi Bay – This classic locality lends it name to the Abereiddian stage of the Ordovician. Here graptolite fossils can be found everywhere in the car park. We then head to the ‘Blue Lagoon’ where the sea has flooded the site of former slate workings.
Porthgain – for afternoon tea and loos before our depature. This fascinating small bay was once the centre of a thriving quarrying and brick making industry. Here there were quarries for Ordovician slate and igneous rock on the north west headland.
Rock Age and where you will see them:
PreCambrian: Whitesands Bay
Cambrian: St David’s Cathedral and Whitesands Bay
Devonian: Skinkle Haven
Carboniferous: Millstone Grit: Tenby, Coal Measures: Saundersfoot, Limestone: Stackpole Quay and Skinkle Haven
Henllys Vale, the Black Mountain Quarries and Carreg Cennan Castle
Finding coal at Henllys Vale
Hay U3A at Herbert’s Quarry
Henllys Vale. – We walk for approximately 2.5 miles in total, on a flat former tram way. At the furthest part of the walk is the Henllys Vale colliery. Here we can see coal and iron stone nodules within the rock layers. We can also see river channel sediments. The site is also impressive for industrial archaeology with the engine house chimney and lime kilns to be seen.
The Black Mountain Centre, Brynamman – Here we have lunch in the cafe and can learn about the industrial history of the Black Mountain.
A Road side Quarry – with ironstones to be seen.
The Black Mountain Quarries (Herbert’s Quarry) – Here we can admire magnificent views and see the impressive quarry workings. Fossils can be found in the limestone.
View point of Carreg Cennan Castle – Here e discuss the Carreg Cennan fault. We can also take a short walk, 1 mile in total through fields, to see two large Shake Holes and the source of the River Loughor.
Carreg cennan Castle – We visit the castle itself, which has been labelled the most romantic ruin in Wales. Adults £4, OAPs £3.50.
Llandrindod Wells and Mynydd Epynt
Finding fossils in Llanfair Quarry
James Cresswell explains a dolerite intrusion in Llanfair Quarry
Cwm Craig Ddu
Gilwern Hill, near Llandrindod Wells – A stream cutting: This site is Ordovician in age, from the Llanvirn Series (Abereiddian sub-stage,artus biozone). The rocks here are 460 myrs old and consist of fragile shales but are confined to this small section of stream cutting. The surrounding rocks are Silurian Mudstones, but of which contain no fossils. Fossils are not particularly common, but, with some careful searching, you should find trilobite pieces, as well as graptolites. Only collect from loose material – there is plenty on the far bank of the stream. A knife comes in handy for splitting shale pieces along bedding planes. All areas of loose shale should be examined for small trilobite pieces and occasional graptolites. The surface of the shale pieces is often weathered, so it is a good idea to break open thicker pieces using a knife, to reveal fresher surfaces. The shale is fairly soft, so be sure to wrap up any fossils you find in protective packaging, such as tissue paper.
Alternatively and much better: we can pay an additional fee to visit the main Gilwern Hill Quarry, it is expensive though!
Llanfair Quarries, Llandrindod Wells
The rocks are Ordovician in age and are the highly fossiliferous Llandeilo-Caradoc shales, siltstones and mudstones. These are intruded by dolerite. These quarries are SSSIs due to their importance for studying fossils of Ordovician animals and their environments. They are also all highly productive. A variety of species have been recorded from the site, including the characteristic graptolite, Nemagraptus gracilis, and the trilobite, Ogygiocaris buchi. Most of the trilobites are now just heads or tails, because this site has been over collected, with little fresh material falling from the stable scree slopes. Nevertheless, graptolites are plentiful, and trilobite remains very common (but with complete trilobite specimens being much less common).
Cwm Craig Ddu. The rocks exposed in the roadside cutting are Silurian age siltstones, which are 420myrs old and part of the Pterinea Beds, Wilsonia Shales Formation, Ludlow series. The site is classified as a SSSI, because it contains the fossilised remains of the earliest vascular land plants yet to have been found in the UK. This particular group of plants contain specialised tissues to carry nutrients and water throughout the plant. Plants living today that use this system include trees, grasses and ferns. All the fossilised remains in Cwm Craig Ddu Quarry belong to the genus Cooksonia, one of the most primitive vascular land plants found in the UK. You will need to examine the rocks carefully, as fossils from this site are very small. The roadside cutting was designated a SSSI due to its importance for primitive vascular land plants. However, these are rare and the higher beds in the old disused quarry containing them are mostly overgrown. Instead, what you are most likely to find are small bivalves within the siltstones. These may be small, but are remarkably well preserved. They can be found almost anywhere, but are mostly collected by splitting fallen rocks or other loose material within the embankment.
This site is also a magnificent example of a glaciated valley.
The Epynt Centre, Disgwylfa . We walk along the Epynt Way for half a mile each way learning about the Geology of Myndydd Epynt which is Devonian and we learn about the Townsend Tuff bed. There is a small climb to the last site so a walking stick might be useful.
The Twmpath, nr Erwood We admire the magnificent views of the Wye Valley and Aberedw Rocks. We discuss the glacial features and examine the Silurian rocks that contain occasional brachiopod fossils.
old red sandstone of the black mountains explained…
Pwll y Wrach waterfall
Our group climbing Cockitt Hill
Fossil burrows of Beaconites on Cockitt Hill
This tour explains the Old Red Sandstone that makes up the Black Mountains and the glacial processes that have carved out the present landscape.
Rhos Fawr– 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 nearby Llangorse Lake.
Bwlch – We visit an old quarry and observe fossilised river channels.
Llangorse Lake as seen from Cockitt Hillwas formed in the last Ice Age
Mynnydd Illtud and Craig Cerrig Gleisiad
Hay U3A at Twyn y Gaer
Treath Mawr bog
Inside Craig Cerrig Gleisiad.
Twyn y Gaer Iron Age Fort, on Mynydd Illtud –For superb views across the Usk valley and a discussion of lateral moraines and terminal moraines.
Mynydd Itttud – We walk to a fossilised Devonian River Channel and to a terminal moraine, and a possible kettle hole. Treath Mawr is a low lying marshy are that was an ice damed lake behind the moraine. The sediments in this lake have given an important record into the changing climate.
Craig Cerrig Gleisiad – a magnificent glacial amphitheatre and SSSI for the rare Alpine plants it contains. Here we discuss the glacier that it would have contained and the younger Dryas glacial re-advance. We also have another look at moraines.
Fossilised Devonian river channel
A view of Worm’s Head
Rhossili – We walk from the car park to see Old Red Sandstone in Rhossili Down. We will then walk along the road to Middleton. We will then walk to the top of Mewslade, a valley formed by glacial meltwater, and find fossils in an old limestone quarry. We then walk along the cliff tops, to Fall Bay. At Fall Bay swimming is possible so why not bring your costumes? We will be examining the limestone and also glacial deposits.
Tears Point – Picnic lunch at the top of Tears Point. Here we can see a raised beach and excellent views of Worm’s Head.
Worm’s Head – We cross the causeway to Worm’s Head. We aim to go all the way to the outermost point.
Glamorgan Heritage Coast (Western part)
James Cresswell explaining the view from Trwyn y Witch headland
An ammonite in Dunraven Bay
Dunraven Bay Southerndown – Here we will see both the same Carboniferous Limestone that is present in the southern part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and Jurassic sediments. The Jurassic sediments here contain Gryphea (Devil’s Toenail) fossils. We walk for 2 miles in total around the Trwyn y Witch headland on the beach, returning over the headland. Please see the attached walk description sheet for full details.
Nash Point. This dramatic cliff top is home to a lighthouse, and the cliffs below have yielded plesiosaur and ichthyosaur fossil remains. We spend 45 mins here looking for fossils on the beach under the cliffs. The rocks here are also Jurassic.
Llantwit Major. We spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach here. One of the best locations for collecting fossils from Wales is Llantwit Major, expect to find anything here!…. but ammonites are less common and shells, sponges, corals, echinoids are far more common.
There is a vast range of different shells including gigantic 5 inch gastropods and gryphea the size of tennis balls. In short excluding ammonites, everything else seems much bigger here. Bones can also be found both of fish remains and of Ichthyosaurus. The dark shale areas on the foreshore between the hard limestone are worth a search since this is the location where bones and the giant gastropod can be found.
Programmes for Schools
If you are a school and want a field course that gets your pupils into the great outdoors but covers many topics that are on the National Curriculum then these programmes could be for you.
Scenery Explained Wales has teamed up with outdoor education and corporate training company ‘Call of the Wild’ to provide this programme. Call of the Wild provides the accommodation for your school group, the food and mini bus transportation, while we provide the guiding and interpretation of the Geopark.
Keystage 3 and 4 programmes:
Single Day Programmes
Send your students on a Field Trip or Guided Walk. The interpretation on these walks and tours covers the following Keystage 3 and 4 topics:
Science: The Environment, Earth and Universe
Physical Geography: Physical processes and landscapes
Human Geography: Urban change, migration, sustainable development Fieldwork: Out of class learning Geographical communication: Map reading skills History: Chronological understanding Change and continuity
British History: Industrialization
Three Day Programme
Day 1: A Field Trip or Guided Walk, this can be a half day or full day walk depending on arrival time. Depending on the chosen trail the interpretation can cover the areas of the National curriculum mentioned above.
Evening: An informative talk by Polar Expedition Guide James Cresswell, on wildlife and Climate Change in the Polar Regions. The talk is very visual with dramatic photographs and video footage.The concepts raised in the talk cover the following area of the national curriculum:
Science: The Environment, Earth and Universe: Human Activity – Climate Change
Geography: Interactions between people and the environment.
Morning: A visit to the incredible waterfalls of the Geopark, here physical geography river processes can be discussed.
Afternoon: An expedition into our local cave network with a ‘Call of the Wild’ caving guide and myself. This is a physical activity as well as an opportunity to learn about the physical processes that create caves.
Evening: If conditions are right an outdoor star gazing session, otherwise an indoor presentation on the stars and solar system. The Brecon Beacons an International Dark Skies Reserve.
The talk covers the following area of the national curriculum:
Science: The Environment, Earth and Universe: Astronomy and Space
Morning: A classroom re-cap session with James and school teachers.
A Level programmes
In addition to our GCSE programme we can use our unique location within the Brecon Beacons National Park and Fforest Fawr Geopark to create programmes for Geography and Geology A Level pupils. These programmes can be put together specially for the individual school, but the topics that we are best suited to cover could be:
River processes and management – using the nearby river Mellte and its spectacular waterfalls
Glacial Landforms: The main peaks of the Brecon Beacons and the ridge of the Black Mountain have been cut out by glaciers as have the Swansea and Neath valleys. These are great places to study the effects of deglaciation on the landscape.
Geological mapping, The Cribarth mountain behind the ‘Call of the Wild’ accommodation has been used by many years by Cardiff University as a mapping location.
Economic geology: coal and iron ore
The geological evolution of Britain. The Geopark contains a 200 million year sequence of sedimentary rocks stretching from the mid Ordovician to the end of the Carboniferous.
Cardiff University has been using Cribarth Mountain to teach Geological mapping for many years. Scenery Explained Wales and ‘Call of the Wild‘ can provide everything to base your field classes in the Fforest Fawr Geopark.