Editing Carboniferous of the Wear Valley and Derwent Gorge, County Durham - an excursion

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==== Locality 3A, The Derwent Gorge and associated Muggleswick Woods ====
 
==== Locality 3A, The Derwent Gorge and associated Muggleswick Woods ====
  
The Derwent Gorge and associated Muggleswick Woods, containing areas of ancient oak-birch-ash woodland, form an extensive National Nature Reserve run by English Nature. Prior permission for access is required (see Logistics). The River Derwent forms incised meanders east of Muggleswick with steep or precipitous sides deeply cut into the upper Namurian bedrock. Much of the gorge is heavily forested, but there is access by a footpath that crosses the river at Lead Mill Bridge [NZ 054 488]. On the south side of the gorge the footpath starts beside the road at NZ 0544 4877 where there is limited parking beside large wooden gates. The site manager may be able to offer parking at Crooked Oak [NZ 0550 4976] which is at the north end of the footpath. Follow the footpath into the gorge and note sporadic exposures of upper Namurian sandstone and shale. The slopes above the river are much affected by landslips, but several bedrock sections are visible either at or above the Upper Felltop Limestone. A short way down stream a high cliff beside the river at NZ 058 492 shows a fine succession of interbedded sandstone and shale with calcareous beds including limestone, assigned to the Upper Felltop, 10 m below the top of the section. The sequence shows rapid lateral variation. A section of strata here is appended to the Geological Survey six-inch sheet NZ 04 NE. This cliff section is one of the best continuous exposures of upper Namurian strata in this region. A short distance down stream ruins of buildings and an old shaft mark the site of Silvertongue Mines where lead ore was extracted from north-trending veins in the 1840s (Durham, 1990).
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The Derwent Gorge and associated Muggleswick Woods, containing areas of ancient oak-birch-ash woodland, form an extensive National Nature Reserve run by English Nature. Prior permission for access is required (see Logistics). The River Derwent forms incised meanders east of Muggleswick with steep or precipitous sides deeply cut into the upper Namurian bedrock. Much of the gorge is heavily forested, but there is access by a footpath that crosses the river at Lead Mill Bridge [NZ 054 488]. On the south side of the gorge the footpath starts beside the road at NZ 05444877 where there is limited parking beside large wooden gates. The site manager may be able to offer parking at Crooked Oak [NZ 05504 976] which is at the north end of the footpath. Follow the footpath into the gorge and note sporadic exposures of upper Namurian sandstone and shale. The slopes above the river are much affected by landslips, but several bedrock sections are visible either at or above the Upper Felltop Limestone. A short way down stream a high cliff beside the river at NZ 058492 shows a fine succession of interbedded sandstone and shale with calcareous beds including limestone, assigned to the Upper Felltop, to m below the top of the section. The sequence shows rapid lateral variation. A section of strata here is appended to the Geological Survey six-inch sheet NZ 04 NE. This cliff section is one of the best continuous exposures of upper Namurian strata in this region. A short distance down stream ruins of buildings and an old shaft mark the site of Silvertongue Mines where lead ore was extracted from north-trending veins in the 1840s (Durham, 1990).
  
 
==== Locality 3B, Allensford, a County Geological Site ====
 
==== Locality 3B, Allensford, a County Geological Site ====
  
Allensford, a County Geological Site; access by footpath only. Return to the A68 and proceed to Allensford. Take the Consett road just south of Allensford bridge and after a short distance turn left into the picnic area car park [NZ 078 502]. Walk back and cross the A68 to the marked footpath that starts between houses and runs up stream beside the River Derwent. Cross the Warnley Burn by the footbridge where a fine view of the thick Durham First Grit (upper Namurian) can be seen with waterfalls and a steep sided incised channel. Further up stream the grit forms the striking vertical cliffs of Ravens Crag, more that 10 m high, where massive coarse-grained and pebbly, '''cross-bedded''' sandstones are well exposed.
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Allensford, a County Geological Site; access by footpath only. Return to the A68 and proceed to Allensford. Take the Consett road just south of Allensford bridge and after a short distance turn left into the picnic area car park [NZ 078 502]. Walk back and cross the A68 to the marked footpath that starts between houses and runs up stream beside the River Derwent. Cross the Warnley Burn by the footbridge where a fine view of the thick Durham First Grit (upper Namurian) can be seen with waterfalls and a steep sided incised channel. Further up stream the grit forms the striking vertical cliffs of Ravens Crag, more that 1 o m high, where massive coarse-grained and pebbly, '''cross-bedded''' sandstones are well exposed.
  
 
==== Locality 3C, Shotley Bridge, County Geological Site ====
 
==== Locality 3C, Shotley Bridge, County Geological Site ====

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