Having assembled our tools and safety equipment, we were led to the first of two exposed rock faces and given a brief introduction to the site by Denise, who was joined by two other Geology Trust volunteers. It was explained how the area was once covered by a tropical sea and therefore we could expect to see the fossilised remains of corals and other marine life. We were also informed that the exposed pit cliffs are now home to solitary bees and wasps. Therefore our work here keeping the cliffs free of vegetation is important to preserve this habitat as well as for the geological examination and study.
We were shown two separate cliff areas that we were to work on and the group divided to work on each simultaneously. Overhanging plants were trimmed while the encroachment of brambles and other flora from beneath were also dealt with. Restoration work was then performed on the rocks themselves - clearing mosses and surface growth and searching for fossils.
We succeeded in clearing the designated areas during the session and uncovered some coral and other small fossil specimens which were able to be identified by Denise and the other Geology Trust volunteers. It made for a very interesting morning.
On the way back we were shown some other cliff faces of this former quarry that had not been maintained. In these patches, grass had developed in a relatively short space of time, hiding the geology beneath. It was a good indication of why the work we did here was of value and hopefully will enable visitors to fully appreciate this unique site.
|The entrance to Dry Sandford Pit|
|En-route to the work site|
|Denise provides some background information|
|Information sheet - page 1|
|Information sheet - page 2|
|Holes in the pit wall - home to solitary bees and wasps|
|Taking a closer look|
|The second of the two work areas|
|Work begins to clear the rocks of overgrowing vegetation|
|Section of cleared rock face|
|Adjacent overgrown area showing what would happen if the geo conservation work was not carried out|
|Examining the first area, now clear of plant growth|