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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Carboniferous

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I had a nice little stroll up the moor to the Sandy Road Colliery spoil heap on Saturday. I was meeting Alison Tymon from the West Yorkshire Geology Trust as she was leading a geology walk around the moor.* It was also a good excuse for a poke around the spoil to see what I could find (do I really need an excuse? wink).

It was pleasing that a nice sized group of interested people attended the walk, including many youngsters armed with magnifying glasses and plenty of enthusiasm.

Alison stressed the importance of the site for its geology, especially the coal balls. While there are many places in the Lancashire and West Yorkshire coalfields that these fossils can be found, they have all now been covered up by housing and other developments. Tod moor is now the only place in the UK, and one of only two places in Europe where they can be found (the other site is in the Ukraine).

Alison also asked to check any coal balls that people found for fish fossils, as these are especially important and rare. Unfortunately no one found any of these but there were plenty of small coal ball fragments as well as rocks containing goniatites and other shells. One gentleman dug up a rather nice lump of ironstone that looked rather like Mickey Mouse.

After a good hour of searching and digging everyone had found something of interest to them and the children all left clutching a rock sample to remind themselves of the day.

Hours of Fun.

The fossils on the Sandy Road spoil heap are a finite resource and of international importance. If you find something of interest please contact WYGT www.wyorksgeologytrust.org or get in touch with Nettie via our Contact Us page.

*Organised by Calderdale County Council.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

Note:- I've changed the title of this blog post so that there is less chance of it causing offence. Many thanks to our watchdog for informing us of a possible faux-pas.

We have recently learnt of a proposal to widen/construct new track for access to Cocks Hill Wood, Cornholme - referred to as Bearnshaw Tower Forest in some of the planning documents.

I must stress that we are not opposed to the Forestry work that they wish to carry out, as it is essential work and ultimately will be of benefit to the environment.

What concerns us the way in which the application has been made.

As is right and proper, consideration has been given to the residents of properties near to the site and it has been decided that access to the site in that area is not practical. However, the wording of the supporting documents for the application state that because work has already been carried out on the adjacent Windfarm, the impact of these new works will be negligible. Part of the proposal involves the use of the windfarm access road for forestry vehicles for the majority of the route and the construction of a small section of new road to the site itself. No reference has been made to local residents adjacent to the entrance to the windfarm access road

We were led to believe (foolishly) that the access road for the windfarm would be used for that purpose only. Also, conditions of it's use have so far not fully been met and it has made it easier for people to access the moor with off road vehicles and fly-tip rubbish.

More importantly, the junction of the new road with the existing track will most likely destroy a geologically important section of the moor, where many types of carboniferous fossils can be found, some of which can only be found at this location within the British Isles.

No consultation has been made with relevant groups including the Todmorden Moor Restoration Society and the West Yorkshire Gelogy Trust, both of which have invested heavily in the preservation of the area. A Geology trail has been created and the site was established as a Geologically important site back in 2008. Funding was even provided by the Heritage Lottery Commision.

Please take a moment to look at the relevant pages on the Calderdale Planning Portal and if you are able to, sign up and register an objection. The deadline for objections is Wednesday.

We need to at least get the application reviewed so that a more thorough consultation can take place and preserve what little is left of the heritage of Todmorden Moor.


Relevant Planning Reference numbers are:




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Wherever I go, I’m always on the look out for fossils.  Whether it is a beach, river bank or gravel driveway, I am scanning the ground for interesting rocks.  When it gets too dark to look down, I then start to look up- at the stars.  Last weekend I was collecting rubble from the bank around the Constellation Plateau to use for track repairs, when I found a small chunk of Stigmaria.  Stigmaria is the name given to the root fossils of some Carboniferous plants.  While it is only a small fragment, no more than 7 cm across, it is in slightly better condition than the big lump that features on our Geology page.  I know that it is not that impressive compared to some of the fossil finds that people make in Yorkshire and Lancashire but it is still really exciting to find a part of something that must have been growing at Woodlands View over 300 million years ago. 

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