Saturday, 6 October 2018

A Trip to Castle Hill - Part 2

A detail of a plough carved on a milestone

At the start of the Sheffield U3A Geology Group trip to Castle Hill, our leader for the day explained that we would encounter hardly any rock outcrops and, by lunchtime, I have to say that this field trip was turning into one of the most disappointing outings that I had been on with the group – as far as learning about the geology was concerned. 

The Castle Hill Geology Trail - Part 1

The large fold out Castle Hill Geology Trail was proving very difficult to use on a windy day – something that I had also highlighted when visiting Rochester Castle - which was a great pity considering its excellent content, and I think that a tried and trusted A5 booklet format would improve the ‘Geotourism experience’. 

The Castle Hill Geology Trail - Part 2

That said, putting down my camera for a good part of the day, I just enjoyed the rest of the walk by taking in the views of the moors and of Castle Hill from different angles and talking with various members of the group that I previously didn’t know – as well as picking the best blackberries that I have ever tasted. 

A milestone

Arriving in the hamlet of Farnley Hey, most of the group looked at varied stonework seen in the vernacular architecture here, particularly the extensive use of stone roof tiles – which are no longer produced – and, unusually for me, I didn’t take a single photo; however, when passing a striking milestone that had been erected since the trail had been written, I was quick to record the details of a plough and a bird - guessed to be a robin - which are carved on its sides. 

A finely carved detail on a milestone

Finally, at Molly Carr Wood, we had our first encounter with hard rock exposures, where the Lumb Dike cuts down through the flaggy sandstones of the 80 Yard Rock into the underlying shale – to leave a steep sided valley.

An outcrop of the 80 Yard Rock hidden in the undergrowth

At the point where the path descends into the valley, the 80 Yard Rock is largely hidden by the undergrowth but, in the stream bed – exposed due to the lack of rain in the summer – numerous small slabs of grey shale were clearly seen and a small outcrop could be seen at the waterside. 

The dried up bed of Lumb Dike in Molly Carr Wood

Returning to Castle Hill, the walk up a very steep slope reminded us all that we were very fortunate to have had a break from the intense heat that had prevailed for several weeks. By the time that we reached the car park, most of the group decided to get off home; however, a few of us decided to make the very most of the day and walked to the top of the Victoria Tower - from which there are some spectacular views.

The Victoria Tower

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