3. Holloway Street, Lower Gornal

Stratigraphy: Downton Castle Sandstone Formation (known locally as the Gornal Grit).

Holloway Street, Lower Gornal, West Midlands Situated approximately 2 km to the west of Dudley town centre is a large shallow abandoned sand pit with remnant long rockfaces scattered among the greenary and ponds of a park. The rockfaces are of Upper Silurian/ Lower Devonian deltaic cross-bedded sandstones of the Downton Castle Sandstone Formation (known locally as the Gornal Grit).

Holloway mapThe junction between the Downton Castle Sandstone and the underlying Turners Hill beds of slightly younger age is exposed behind factories on the opposite side of Holloway Street and also at the opening of a storm water pipe in the main quarry area. The Turners Hill beds are shales containing much primitive plant material and show that a quieter, less energetic sedimentary palaeogeographic environment existed immediately before the onset of Downton Castle Sandstone deltas.

The best exposure is approximately l00m in length and can be found at SO917919. It is the best and only known example of the junction between the two geological units in the area and is in distinct contrast with the junction of the Downton Castle Sandstone at other nearby localities such as The Hayes Cutting at Lye or at Saltwells Local Nature reserve. This makes this exposure particularly important for understanding how changes occurred in this area at the onset of the Caledonian mountain building period.

There is open access to the exposures from footpaths leading from Holloway Street and associated estate roads onto the green area. There is currently no open access to the exposure at the rear of the factory units and permission must be obtained from the occupiers to see these exposures. Some faces are now quite overgrown.

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