Tag Archives: Geology

Rowley Hills now part of a UNESCO Global Geopark, plus some recent photos

On the 10th of July this year, the Black Country became a UNESCO Global Geopark. This prestigious UN status has been awarded in recognition of the Black Country’s internationally important geology stretching back 428 million years, and its cultural heritage; inextricably linked to the area’s geology, this reveals the significant part the Black Country played in the industrial revolution. More than 40 geosites within the geopark have been chosen to tell its story, including the rock face on the Wildlife Trust’s Portway Hill reserve (geosite 23). Click here to read the full story!

Of course, because of the pandemic and the restrictions imposed by lockdown, we haven’t had much to report in 2020 in the way of events. However the hills remain an important oasis where people can spend much-needed time outdoors, and nature has been getting on with things regardless of the virus. Here is a selection of fantastic photos from Mike Poulton taken over the past few months, showing the varied and beautiful life to be found in the Rowley Hills.

Autumn/winter 2018 events

We’ve added a whole host of new events for autumn/winter 2018 to our website, including lots of conservation volunteer days with the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country and a fascinating guided walk focusing on the history of the local area. All the details are below and also on our Events page!

  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Friday 7th September 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Looking Back: A guided walk-and-talk over the Rowley Hills with archive photographs, Saturday 15th September, 10:30am – 1:00pm. Led by Mike Poulton and Jim Rippin, cost: £6 (all proceeds go to the Friends of Rowley Hills. This specially designed guided walk-and-talk is based around a series of remarkable photographs taken by Jim Rippin over the last seventy years. The walk will invite us to see the area in new and fascinating ways, helping us to reflect on the many changes that have taken place within living memory. Booking is essential; for more information and to book your place, go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/looking-back-a-guided-walk-over-the-rowley-hills-with-archive-photographs-tickets-49033218677.
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Friday 5th October 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Geoconservation day, Portway Hill, Saturday 6th October 2018, 10:30am – 2:30pm. Join the Black Country Geological Society to help excavate and expose more of the dolerite at Blue Rock Quarry. Meet on St Brades Close; wear old clothes, waterproofs and stout footwear. Please bring gloves and tools: spades, brushes, trowels, loppers, saws etc. and a packed lunch. For more info please visit the BCGS website.
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Saturday 20th October 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Friday 2nd November 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Saturday 17th November 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!

Best wishes for 2018!

The Friends of Rowley Hills hope you are having a peaceful festive season and wish you a happy 2018! We’ve added 6 more amazing new aerial photos to our Aerial photography gallery; below is a taster. Visit the gallery now to see all the photos!

View towards Clent with the Grade II Listed, Cobb’s Engine House and chimney in foreground (image © Andy Purcell)

New aerial photographs of the Rowley Hills

We’ve added three more of Andy Purcell’s wonderful aerial photographs to our Aerial Photography gallery, this time taken from above the site of the former Darby’s Hill Quarry. Visit the gallery now to see all the photos!

Above the site of the former Darby’s Hill Quarry (image © Andy Purcell)

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More new aerial photographs!

We’ve added three more amazing aerial drone photographs of the Rowley Hills, taken by local wildlife expert and photographer Andy Purcell, to our gallery at https://friendsofrowleyhills.org/about/aerial-photography/. Follow the link to see them all!

View northwest (image © Andy Purcell)

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New aerial photos of the Rowley Hills!

We’ve started a new gallery on our website of amazing aerial drone photography of the Rowley Hills, taken by local wildlife expert and photographer Andy Purcell. The first two images are online now at https://friendsofrowleyhills.org/about/aerial-photography/ and we’ll be adding more over the next few months. Keep checking back!

Portway Hill looking east (image © Andy Purcell)

The geologists have been hard at work again!

Once again, geoconservation volunteers from the Black Country Geological Society have been beavering away on Portway Hill to expose more of the dolerite rockface. For more information about the geology of the Rowley Hills, visit our geology page. Here are a few photos of the results of their work!

More hard work from our excellent volunteers!

Our hard-working volunteers were out on Portway Hill once again at the weekend. They had a great day in the unseasonably warm sunshine doing further work to expose the Rowley Rag rock face and improve the path. Here are a few photos of them at work!

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The geologists have been hard at work!

A group of enthusiastic volunteers from the Black Country Geological Society were hard at work on Portway Hill last Saturday. They did a great job clearing vegetation that was obscuring the dolerite rock exposures, and improving the footpath using eroded material from the rockface – it doesn’t get more locally sourced than that! Here are a few photos of their efforts.

Black Country Global Geopark – UNESCO visit the Rowley Hills!

On the morning of Thursday 23 June, three representatives of FORH, Julie, Bob and Mike, along with Chris Parry, Principal Ecologist for the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, joined Graham Worton, Keeper of Geology at Dudley Museum and Art Gallery and the two scrutineers Jari Nenonen from Finland and Jin Xiaochi from China on their UNESCO Global Geopark Evaluation Mission visit to the Rowley Hills.

To give our guests a panoramic view of the surrounding Black Country, the high point at the top of Darbys Hill Road was the first port of call. From here Graham put names to the distant hills and pointed out some of the nearby sites that had been visited during the previous two days.

From here the short journey was made to the Wildlife Trust land on Portway Hill where our visitors were able to get up really close to the outstanding geological features and we were given the opportunity to talk to them about the role the Wildlife Trust and Friends of Rowley Hills played in conserving and managing this site for its wildlife and geology.

Several other Sandwell sites were to be visited as part of the evaluation mission during the remaining part of the day, so with a tight itinerary in prospect, our visitors parted company, hopefully with a lasting impression to take back home, and one that will lead to a positive outcome when the decision as to whether the Black Country becomes a UNESCO Global Geopark site is made early next year.

UNESCO Scrutineers Jari Nenonen from Finland and Jin  Xiaochi from China visit Portway Hill  (image © Mike Poulton)

UNESCO Scrutineers Jari Nenonen from Finland and Jin Xiaochi from China visit Portway Hill (image © Mike Poulton)

UNESCO Scrutineers Jari Nenonen from Finland and Jin  Xiaochi from China visit Portway Hill  (image © Mike Poulton)

UNESCO Scrutineers Jari Nenonen from Finland and Jin Xiaochi from China visit Portway Hill (image © Mike Poulton)