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Titterstone Clee - detailed

Despite the fullness of the geological record, the stratigraphic and structural geology of Shropshire is more complex than usually realised. The Top 20 map shows how the Carboniferous outlier of Titterstone Clee lies sequentially, albeit unconformably, above Old Red Sandstone. However, there are faults and facies changes that disrupt this pattern.

The broadly synclinal outliers of Brown Clee and Titterstone Clee respectively are separated from each other by the north easterly extension of the plunging Ludlow Anticline, a relationship which is clearly understood as one views the anticline, demarcated by the horse-shoe ridge of the Bringewood Beds, from the south side of Titterstone Clee.

Particular interest attaches to the emplacement of the olivine-dolerite sill. It appears to have been intruded preferentially between sandstone layers within the unconsolidated strata of the Middle Westphalian soon after deposition of the latter. The igneous activity is attributed to localised crustal stretching during the late phases of the closure of the Rhaeic Ocean, which culminated in the Variscan Orogeny and the formation of Pangea.

The detailed palaeogeographic environment is also of interest and critical significance in the immediate vicinity of Titterstone Clee. The basins of deposition in Britain throughout the Carboniferous were separated into northern and southern areas by the Wales-Brabant Barrier. The Carboniferous Limestone seen in the Oreton-Farlow ridge to the north east of the hill and Knowle to the south shows a rather oolitic texture which has more in common with the limestone of the Mendips, suggesting that the Carboniferous Limestone of the Clee Hill area was deposited on the northern shore of the southern basin.

However, by Westphalian time the Coal Measures deposits correlate with those of the Shrewsbury and East Shropshire Coalfields to the north and the Wyre Forest Coalfield to the east which in turn are part of the Pennine province of deposition, suggesting they were on the shallow coastal swamp margin to the north of the Wales-Brabant Barrier.

The Clee Hill Quarries are separately protected as an SSSI (click here to see the reasons for notification), in addition to the features on Titterstone Clee, a mile to the north-west.

A detailed geological trail is available for those wishing to explore Titterstone Clee for themselves, by clicking here.

The Clee Hill Trust is actively pursuing conservation of the natural and industrial heritage of the area.

For information on the geomorphology, fossils and industry of Titterstone Clee

Top 20 Shropshire Geology Sites

Click map to enlarge