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Wenlock Edge

The geology of Wenlock Edge is described elsewhere (Click here for details) but here the focus is on the world-class view of the landscape, reflecting an almost complete sequence of geological rocks through the entire Palaeozoic.

Wenlock Edge is one of a pair of limestone ridges that runs SW/NE across South Shropshire. There are many limestone quarries and some limekilns along Wenlock Edge.

These Silurian rocks were laid down on a gently sloping shelf in sub-tropical, clear, shallow seas with the landmass to the east somewhere around Birmingham and deeper water to the west.

As a result, the Silurian provides two escarpments: Wenlock and View Edges. These are the products of differential erosion of the relatively strong limestones and weaker mudstones (shales and siltstones). The limestone has resisted erosion better than the mudstone so it now forms higher ground with the weaker material being found in the parallel valleys of Ape Dale to the NW, Hope Dale in between the escarpments and Corve Dale to the SE. The cross section below shows the relationship between the different rock formations and today's landscape.


Furthermore, there is a splendid view from the crest of the Wenlock Edge escarpment which enables the whole of the Palaeozoic to be seen, west from the Cambrian of the flanks of Caer Caradoc, through the Ordovician, and Silurian through to the east, onto the Devonian of Brown Clee capped with Carboniferous, and the Permian of Bridgnorth beyond. The map shows where to go (marked by the blue viewpoint symbol; there is a small roadside lay-by for parking).

 

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