Before launching the 2014 Geofest on Monday 26 May, Abberley & Malvern Hills Geopark President, Chris Darmon, visited Bewdley for a guided tour around the Champions sites. Bewdley Champion Ian Williams hosted the visit, and tells his story:
We met outside the Museum and walked around St. Anne’s church, and discussed how it could be cleaned without damaging the fabric of the stone. Then on, down to our wonderful bridge, where Chris showed his joy and enthusiasm for Mr Telford’s construction. He said we were so lucky to have this unique bridge in our Town. We proceeded to the Holding Pens. Chris was very appreciative of the cleaning effort. A good discussion ensued as to how the quarry came to be. I had arranged with the James, the Station Master at The Severn Valley Railway to allow us access to walk the trackside embankment running along side platform three. Chris pointed out that he has often passed the site with geology groups on the train, but seemed pleased to inspect it close up. He passed on advice about the sympathetic clearing of shrubs and weeds from the rock face, to the Maintenance Forman at SVR, and our party. A job for the future!!?
We all met up at the Museum for a bite to eat, and everyone agreed that it had been a worthwhile experience. It has led to Peter and Cherry Oliver revisiting and looking at my friend’s extensive quarry in the woods opposite the South Box at Bewdley.
Peter has since hosted an informal get together of those who attended Chris Darmon’s visit, to talk about geology, local history and archaeology in Bewdley. This seems to have gone down well with more meetings planned.
In the first instance of this project, meeting up with Eve at Worcester College was inspiring. She gave me lots of help and guidance in setting me up as what I was then called: an “Earth Heritage Champion”.
My thanks go to members of the Civic society, my stepson Andrew and my friend Tim who brought along his triple ladders to clear the upper faces of the Pens. Having persuaded them all to participate in the challenge the end result is there to see. The present Mayor of Bewdley, Derek Killingworth, had joined in with the clearance, then arranged for the removal of a few tons of soil and debris. Peter Archer, Andrew and myself had loaded this into over a hundred bags. This was painstakingly lugged up the footpath with wheel barrows to a truck, as there is no chance of parking on the corner of the bridge.
The appreciation of local people seeing the site, with their encouragement and kind words, makes it all worth while. The maintenance of the site is carried out by Andrew and myself and will be on-going.
I’m thrilled that Chris Darmon liked his visit to Bewdley enough to put me in his magazine ‘Down to Earth’ . (‘Down to Earth’ issue 88, August 2014, p27.) More information at: http://www.geosupplies.co.uk/down-to-earth-magazine.html