Just in time for bright autumn days South Somerset District Council is delighted to announce the launch of the new Ham Hill Geology Trail.
Created in memory of Hugh Prudden – well-known local geologist, teacher and founding Chairman of the Friends of Ham Hill – this self-guided trail has been developed for visitors to follow two short walking routes around some of the most interesting locations on the hill, exploring the unique features of Hamstone.
The trail guide gives introductory information on the formation of the sedimentary limestone that makes up the raised high point of Ham Hill. You will be guided to the layers of rock that tell us the story of Earth’s past and locations where you can spot the fossils of animals that swam in the shallow seas when the rock was formed.
There are stops at the Local Geological Site and the nationally important Site of Special Scientific Interest where you can see adze marks created by Victorian quarry workers who were extracting the high value stone by hand.
Katy Menday from the South Somerset Countryside Team said: “It has been a lovely project, working with Hugh’s family and the Friends of Ham Hill, to bring together a fitting tribute in memory of Hugh’s vast knowledge and enthusiasm for geology generally, but specifically Ham Hill.
“The outcrop of Hamstone is the reason that Ham Hill is so important: it creates the high point that our pre-historic ancestors settled on and the limestone allows for the growth of the rarer grassland habitats that the rangers manage today. This trail will help visitors understand some of the finer detail about this special golden stone when they next come to the Country Park”.
District Councillor Sylvia Seal, Portfolio Holder for Health and Well Being, said: “The new free trail leaflet gives everybody the opportunity to explore some of the unique features of Ham Hill at their own pace. It certainly makes you look at all our lovely Hamstone villages with fresh eyes”.
Mick Wooden, Chairman of the Friends of Ham Hill, said: “Hugh was the founder chairman of the Friends group, his work founding the group over ten years ago has meant that today we have an active group supporting the work of the ranger team and liaising with the local parishes. We were delighted to have been able to help with the writing, fundraising and creation of this trail”.
The Ham Hill Geology Trail leaflet has been funded by the Curry Fund of the Geologists’ Association and Susan Brown, Secretary of the Fund, said: “The Curry Fund is delighted to support the publication of the Ham Hill Geology Trail leaflet in memory of local geologist Hugh Prudden. Hugh was a highly enthusiastic local geologist who worked tirelessly to bring geology to the wider public, to help them understand the world beneath their feet and to enjoy its many and varied surface manifestations”.
The leaflet is available from outside the ranger’s office or by downloading it from: https://www.southsomersetcountryside.com/media/1301/ssdc_hamhillgeologytrail_a4_web-2.pdf
If the trail whets your appetite for information about Ham Hill’s geological past then visit the page on the website for more information about Hamstone or for other local sites and groups that may be of interest: