The Geopark idea, now supported by UNESCO, has been around for a while (see links below), but a new concept on a smaller scale is that of the GeoVillage: a community that has distinctive geology within its bounds, a policy of locally managed geological discovery and conservation, educational offerings for both schools and adults and that uses its geological assets in support of the local economy.
Martley in Worcestershire, close to the border between England and Wales, has the honor of being the first GeoVillage in the UK.
The geology in the small area of Martley parish shows remarkable diversity. As you traverse the parish from east to west – a distance of barely three kilometers - you walk over rocks representing hundreds of millions of years of the Earth’s history, from the Precambrian Malvern complex (670 ma) to Triassic sandstones (~230 MY); seven periods of geological time in one parish.
The River Teme, the longest tributary of Great Britain’s longest river, the Severn, flows through the village and provides exposures of many of these rocks. Around 40 known features of geological interest have been identified and visitors are able to follow a number of marked trails, using downloadable guides to help them understand the geology, as well as information boards placed at strategic points in the village. There are also interactive 3D apps that explain the geological scene. For further information, see www.geo-village.eu
Continents colliding, magma chambers far underground, warm shallow seas, steamy tropical forests and swampy lagoons ages old, rivers in harsh desert landscapes: clear evidence for all of these environments is to be found here!
This very picturesque, historic and interesting corner of England is leading the way in making geology more accessible, and it is hoped that other geologically rich villages will follow in its footsteps.
Visitors please note that some of the site is on private land (Cob House Fisheries) and as such kindly respect the need to stay within the site boundary as shown at the entrance.