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Field Geology in South Shropshire (Part 1)

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In this tract of the Welsh Borderland is found some of its most attractive scenery and varied geology.

Part 1 looks at rocks of Precambrian to Ordovician age - ancient volcanics, intrusives and reddish strata on the Stretton Hills, white quartzites near the Wrekin, and fossiliferous sandstones and shales along the Onny Valley. No prior knowledge of geology or the area is assumed.

Please note that you will need to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements, with meeting time and place to be confirmed.

Dates for this course are Saturday 19 to Tuesday 22 October 2019.

Learning and teaching

The field trip is four consecutive days with an emphasis on practical observation and recognition of significant features. There will be 20 contact hours in total.

You will be taught the basics of geological science, and the geology (including landforms) of the study area, firstly through background reading of the handout forwarded to you in advance of the course (includes text, maps and descriptive annotated sketches). You will then be shown many of the aspects described in the handout 'in the field', having the handout available at all times for reference.

Field skills will be taught during the course, including how to observe and record, how to sample good reference specimens, and to be aware of, and act on, key aspects of geological conservation and safety.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects. The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions


  • Whitten with Brooks. 1974. A Dictionary of Geology. Penguin.
  • Kearey. 1996. The New Penguin Dictionary of Geology. Penguin.
  • Mondadori. 1977. The Macdonald Encyclopaedia of Rocks and Minerals. Macdonald.
  • Geological Museum. 1978. Britain before Man. HMSO.
  • British Museum (Natural History). 1969. British Palaeozoic Fossils. London.
  • Fortey. 2005. Fossils: The Key to the Past. The Natural History Museum.
  • Van Rose and Mercer. Volcanoes. The Natural History Museum. ISBN 0-565-09138-7.
  • Hunter & Easterbrook. 2004. The Geological History of the British Isles. The Open University.


  • Earp and Haines. 1971. The Welsh Borderland. HMSO.
  • Toghill. 1990. Geology of Shropshire. Swan Hill.
  • Toghill. 1992. Onny Valley. Shropshire Teaching Trail. Geologists’ Association. Guide
  • No. 45*.
  • Toghill and Beale. 1994. Ercall Quarries Wrekin area Shropshire. Geologists’
  • Association Guide No. 48.
  • Allbutt, Moseley, Rayner and Toghill. 2002. The Geology of South Shropshire.
  • Geologists’ Association Guide No. 27.
  • Phillips and Stratford. 1999. Shropshire Geology. Phillips Tutorials*.

* easy reads for the newcomer to geology.

British Geological Survey 1:50 000 scale maps

  • Sheet 152 ‘Shrewsbury’, Sheet 166 ‘Church Stretton’.


Students can use the Geology of Britain viewer to correlate published British Geological Survey maps with satellite images (Google Earth) of the British Landscape.

NB. It is not essential that you read any of the publications listed in order to complete the course successfully. The list simply provides details of publications that will broaden your knowledge of geology in general and the specific subject being studied. Some of the above publications are several decades old, but in the opinion of the tutor, have yet to be surpassed for their learning value. Such out-of-print publications can be obtained through libraries, and second-hand book dealers including the internet.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.