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North West: Trip to the Churnet Valley Geotrail - Froghall Wharf Section

18 May 2019
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Event type:
Regional Group, Field Trip, Geology Walk
Organised by:
North West Regional Group
Froghall Wharf, Foxt Road
Event status:

The North West Regional Geological Society are pleased to invite you to a trip along the Churnet Valley Geotrail, led by Dr Ian Stimpson from Keele University. 

This geotrail is designed to give the visitor a glimpse of the rocks, minerals, and geologically-related industrial heritage of the area which is intimately linked to the extractive industries. The whole trail is 25km long, our trip will focus on an approximately 8km circular walk between Froghall Wharf and Foxt.

At the historic Froghall Wharf we will discuss the influence of how the extraction of geological materials influences the development of transport links in the area. After a short diversion along the Caldon Canal towpath to discuss the Churnet Valley development at the end of the last Ice Age, we follow the outcrop of the Froghall Ironstone and Woodhead Hill Sandstone, and observe several old mineshafts and a stream which dissects red mine spoil. 

A thin coal seam and an ochre layer from the processing of ironstone for coloured dye are visible. The trail passes an outfall draining a mine in the overlying Crabtree Coal and then climbs out of the valley past more former coal workings.

After crossing a fault, separating the Rough Rock sandstones of Namurian age from the younger Westphalian mudstones down in the valley, we examine the Chatsworth and Roaches Grits and discuss the development of the gritstones in Staffordshire. We also examine the history of the tramways that were used to transport limestone from the quarries at Cauldon Low to the canal at Froghall Wharf, to where our trail returns.

The trail mainly follows public footpaths and other marked trails, including part of the Staffordshire Way, but visitors should note that some of these have stiles, steep sections and muddy, uneven terrain and the use of suitable footwear is advised. There are also some crossings of minor roads where particular care should be taken of the traffic. All participants will be required to sign a risk assessment, which will be provided.

Places will be on a first come, first served basis.

To Book a space on the trip


Meet in the Froghall Wharf car park, Foxt Road ST10 2HJ: 10.00am. (Grid. Ref. SK 0268 4765) 

The trip will probably finish around 3pm. Bring a packed lunch.


Dr Ian Stimpson

Dr Ian Stimpson is Senior Lecturer in Geophysics at Keele University, appointed in 1987. His first degree was in geology at the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College. He then went on to study earthquake source mechanics at University College Cardiff for his Ph.D.

He has a wide variety of research interests, from microseismicity, near-surface geophysics and structural geology to geothermal and hydrocarbon energy sources. He is currently active in geoconservation being both Chair of GeoConservation Staffordshire and Secretary of GeoConservation UK.

Further information

For further information visit or contact the group secretary, Catherine Kenny at:


These events may be considered for contributing to a recognised Continuing professional Development (CPD) scheme as part of personal development. 

Delegates should check their individual scheme requirements.