And The Surrounding District


1. General Geology

Castlemorton Common has survived until the present time

because of its geological history.

Britain can be divided into 'Highland' and 'Lowland'

regions, by drawing a curved line from the mouth of the

River Exe in Devon, to the mouth of the River Tees in

Yorkshire. The Malvern Hills form part of this line,

and it is strange, but true, that even though the

highest point is only just over 1300 feet above sea

level, the next equal height due north east is the Ural

mountains of Central Russia, 4,000 miles away.

The rocks of the hill ridge are very ancient, being

pushed up into the earth's crust over 500 million years

ago, in the Cambrian period. These rocks were covered

by a sea in Silurian times, about 400 million years

ago, and later an earth movement, known as the

Cheltenham drive, pushed up the hills as a ridge,

whilst creating a fault along the eastern side. As the

sedimentary Silurian rocks were eroded, the hills were

left as a ridge by Triassic times about 200 million

years ago.

The climate of the Triassic period was that of as very

harsh desert. The Keuper sandstones were built up over

the landscape to the east of the hills, ie where the

common is now. Thus the scene was set, as shown in the


During the Great Ice Age, which ended only about 10,000

years ago, an ice-sheet extended from the north down as

far as Gloucester, and the Malvern Hills probably stuck

up through as bare frost-shattered peaks.

When the ice—sheets began to melt, they deposited

glacial clay and boulders. However no deposits of

this clay have yet been found east of the hills, but

the whole area within a mile or two of them has

deposits of Malvernian gravels, especially thick in

some areas on the lower flanks of the actual hill

slopes. These gravels are basically all the frost-

shattered bits of rock, which were washed down by melt

waters or gradually crept down the bare hills under the

influence of gravity.

The Hill soil is too thin and acid, and the gravels are

difficult to cultivate being relatively infertile.

This fact led to the survival of the commons, the

more fertile soils of the river terraces being used in

preference and the area around the hills was left as

wilderness. The solid geology can be seen in the

Gullet quarry, and the gravels in the banks of the

stream in the middle of the common

By  Med Snookes

A handbook for Locals and Visitors