Ever fancied having a go at fossil hunting? Who would have thought that the one of the best places to search for fossils in the UK is in Dudley, in the West Midlands?
West Midlands Walks: Wrens Nest
Over 400 million years ago, the area where Dudley is now, was covered by coral reefs and tropical seas. Over 700 types of fossil are known to have come from Wren’s Nest. 186 of which were first discovered and described here and 86 are found nowhere else on Earth.
Wren’s Nest Nature Reserve is of exceptional importance. It is one of the most notable geological locations in the British Isles and is visited and studied by geologists from all over the world. So, why haven’t you visited yet?!
Parking is available at Wrens Hill Road. Open from 9.30-4.00, Monday to Friday. However, it is only a small car park so I suggest visiting early or late to avoid peak times.
There are 4 different routes to explore, each focusing on a different aspect.
The Accessible route takes you around the lower beds of the site and key features. However, if you have help or a motorised wheelchair, the Severn Sisters Mine can be accessed, but it is on a slight slope.
Murchisons Trail – focuses on the geographical features of the site.
Wildlife walk – This trail takes you to areas for wildlife watching.
Abraham Darby – This route takes you to the archaeological parts of the site and delves into the history of Abraham Darby. He is the father of the Industrial Revolution, and played a role in building the famous Ironbridge.
Taking Fossils Home
You are allowed to look for fossils and explore the majority of the area as you wish. You are also able to take home specimens if you do find them.
We spent a good hour mooching around the rock faces, inspecting every rock for fossils. The main area is large and inviting, and is actually a lot greener than I remember. (I came as a small child – many moons ago).
The trail markers are visible and easy to follow.
I don’t think you could spend a day here, but certainly a morning or afternoon of fossil hunting is ideal for a half term mini adventure.
If you find anything and would like to know what it is, have a look at the Geology Matters website for referencing.
We have brought home a few rocks to clean and break up to see if we can find anything worth keeping, and will add it to our home learning curriculum!
Let me know if you find anything! I will update on Instagram or Facebook we uncover a Jurassic-age bug in our rock hoard. What will the chances be do you reckon?