Brown End Quarry is a geological nature reserve owned by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. The panels form an interactive trail around the quarry: each panel ends with a question which is answered on the next panel. Nearly all the panels also include a question (in green) which is answered (upside down) near the bottom of the panel. The major task for visitors is to match the fossils (shown by photographs) with the reconstructed animals – in full colour – in Brin Edwards’s wonderful scene of a Lower Carboniferous sea. Fossils of each of the animals shown in the reconstruction were found in the quarry – only the plants (seaweed) were not found…but seaweed is very rarely found as a fossil but we assume it has been in marine environments for hundreds of millions of years (How many? We don’t know!).
The project began with a commissioned interpretation strategy and using this the Trust was easily able to get the necessary £50+k funding. The work also included making the quarry accessible, environmental work, an education pack and website. The results were credited as ‘Good Practice’ on the Good Quarry website, commissioned from Leeds University department of quarrying by MIRO, a quasi-governmental mineral resources body.
If you go to the relevant Images page you can see what the trail looks like in the quarry.
The publicity material for the nature reserve is below:
We had a great on-site launch party, sponsored by Lafarge which owns the neighbouring Cauldon Quarry (see panel 7) and used Brown End for school visits (as it was a safe environment for kids to get up close to the quarry face – they saw the inside of the cement works at Cauldon). The local Geologists’ Association group provided many hands-on activities, and they also organise work parties to keep the quarry faces free from brambles, scrub and trees (particularly birch).
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