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Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark

The Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark, is located within the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom. The boundary of the Geopark falls within the rural counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Worcestershire and covers an area of 1250 square kilometres.

The Abberley and Malvern Hills form the backbone of the Geopark, illustrating over 500 million years of Earth history. Stratigraphy from Precambri-an to Jurassic and Quaternary is represented with almost complete successions of the Silurian and Triassic periods present. The Malvern structural axis with its associated faulting and folding runs in a north south direction and is the major influence on the geology of the Geopark.

The geological and geomorphological significance of the area has been recognised since the days of Murchi-son in the early 19th century. There are 13 geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and 80 Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites (RIGS). The active and well-established Earth heritage groups carrying out recording and conservation are Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust, Gloucestershire Geoconserva-tion and the Shropshire RIGS Group. These groups provide an extremely successful educational programme, which is based on geology and landscape trails and guided walks. The trails illustrate many aspects of geology and geomorphology. Guides also contain supplements with information about archaeology and biodiversity along the trails.

Another successful element of the public awareness programme is the 'Rock and Fossil Roadshow'. During these events school children and family groups enjoy making fossil replicas and Silurian seascapes, discovering the beauty of fossils, doing fossil rubbings and identifying rocks and minerals. The rock and fossil roadshows visit community centres and museums throughout the Geopark. There are many other attractions within the Geopark. For example, the Malvern Hills contain two major hill forts used by Iron Age tribes (c800BC to 43AD). There are a further two within the Abberley Hills. Also, the Wyre Forest coalfield forming the northern part of the Geopark has a rich mining history stretching back many centuries.

The area also displays exceptionally strong links between its landscape and social history. One of England's most celebrated composers, Sir Edward Elgar, was born on 2nd June, 1857 within the Geopark. His birthplace, now a museum, is close to the Malvern Hills. It is widely acknowledged that the music of Elgar was inspired by the landscape of the Geopark.

The Partnership that founded the Geopark consists of the Abberley Hills Preservation Society, English Nature, the Forestry Commission, Gloucestershire Geoconservation Trust, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust, Scenesetters and University College Worcester. This Partnership is working closely together to promote geotourism and to encourage a greater awareness of the significance of our Earth heritage and the evolution of the natural landscape.

Abberley and Malvern Hills European Geopark
Geological Records Centre
University College Worcester
Henwick grove
WR2 6AJ England
Tel: 01905 855184
E-mail:Cheryl Jones