Uncovering Tales of Time


Before and after shots show improvements at Dinham
imageThe world renowned rock faces along the Bread Walk at Ludlow’s Whitcliffe Common are set for a programme of clearance. Concern has grown at the increase of invasive vegetation on the rock faces which are visited regularly by geologists from all over the world.
So the Friends of Whitcliffe Common, in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust, and with the backing of English Nature, have agreed a plan of careful clearance which will begin shortly.
Advice on this work has been generously given by Ludlow’s eminent geologist and member of the Friends of Whitcliffe Common, Professor Michael Rosenbaum. English Nature has provided a grant to enable the clearance to be undertaken.
The aim is to re-expose the geology for which this part of Whitcliffe has been famous for two centuries. This will allow the story to be told of how the rocks came to be deposited in a shallow sea south of the Equator, on the margins of an ancient ocean which was being destroyed.
This had completely gone by the time the rocks on nearby Clee Hill were being deposited. There is evidence of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as well as the creatures which lived in those ancient shallow seas.
In more recent times the story can be told of how glaciers once covered the town and caused the Teme gorge to form, a feature most thought had always been here, but we now know that the Teme used to flow miles further west.
The clearance work will concentrate on half a dozen small areas, each of which will expose a critical part of the earth story.
No large trees will be affected and clearance will primarily consist of removing ivy, brambles and dog rose as well as recently seeded saplings. The aim is to conserve the habitats for most living species while re-exposing the rock which provides an insight to the ancient world that forms the landscape which we now enjoy.

The first stage of the programme, in the old quarry by Dinham Bridge, has already been completed. Next will come the area above the stone steps along the Bread Walk, and then four small areas in between. The work is being undertaken by volunteers within the Friends, supervised by the Wildlife Trust, and timed to avoid any disturbance to nesting birds and hibernating mammals and insects.

Whitcliffe Common, situated on the southern edge of Ludlow in South Shropshire, is a wonderful recreation area for residents and visitors alike.
It is maintained by the Friends of Whitcliffe Common in close conjunction with the leaseholders, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, so that future generations can enjoy this beautiful area.
The Friends aim to provide an attractive, safe place to visit, walk and enjoy. This to include tree surgery keeping trees safe and allowing them to flourish, maintaining paths and steps, grassland management to improve wildflower growth, opening up and maintaining the views overlooking Ludlow giving not only a vision of the town, but also the landscape of the Shropshire Hills.
The Friends of Whitcliffe Common can be contacted by e-mail at: