Kingwater fossil Trees/ Crammel Linn waterfall with fault plane/Spa Well


Sunday, 23 April, 2023    


Start: 10.00 am meet at House of Meg Café in Gilsland  Postcode CA8 7BW. Grid reference NY 633 664.

Ian Jackson and Steve Rozario

On this field trip we will explore some of the Visean rocks in the Gilsland area. There are three separate locations each separated by a short car journey. Parking is limited at some sites and it would be best to consolidate transport.

We will meet at Meg’s café in Gilsland to begin with before proceeding to the locations. A packed lunch and flask is recommended, there are no refreshments or public toilets during the day.

Boots and waterproof clothing recommended, some of the walking is quite rough and there are some steep ascents/descents. There is an optional river crossing, if the water is low enough, at one of the sites.

Start: House of Meg Café in Gilsland at 10.00 a.m. Postcode CA8 7BW. Grid reference NY 633 664.

Refreshments and toilets available. If necessary we will consolidate cars here before proceeding. We aim to leave the café by 10.30 for the 10 minute drive to Crammel Linn.

Location 1 – Crammel Linn 10.40 to 12.00. Park at grid reference NY 635 697.

Park at the small roadside car park with an information board.

The first location, Crammel Linn involves a there-and-back walk of ca 0.5 km in each direction over boggy ground. There is a steep, well-trodden descent of ca. 50m to get to the best exposures which is reversed afterwards. We may meet cattle on this section.

We will see the well-exposed Crammel Linn fault, part of the Gilsland fault belt. A fault breccia and disrupted beds can be seen in sandstones and shale of the Tyne Limestone Formation. A thin coal and seatearth is also exposed.

It is a 5 minute drive to the next location.

Location 2 – Kingwater SSSI. 12.05 to 13.45. Park at grid reference NY 621 694.

There is parking next to the forestry road end by the bridleway sign at grid reference NY 621694 and in a small layby about 100 metres before this at NY 622693. Please do NOT block access to the forestry road and do not park on the road itself. The parking is just outside the military base and under camera observation so we may be checked out by the guards from the base. If you reach the sentry post at the military base you have gone too far and should turn round.

This location involves a there-and-back walk of 1.5 km in each direction, with a total ascent/descent of ca. 40m. The route is initially on a good track, then on a bridleway through a firebreak, and the final 100-200m is on rough moorland. An optional river crossing, if water levels are low, may be taken to some of the site. See picture below.

We will see the in-situ stumps of the early Carboniferous tree Pitys Primaeva. This is the earliest in-situ preserved forest in Britain. This is an important Site of Special Scientific Interest and hammering or removal of any pieces of the fossils is strictly forbidden.

We will have lunch here before returning to the cars.

It is a 5 minute drive to the next location.

Location 3 – Gilsland Gorge. 13.50 to 15.50. Park at grid reference NY 636 676.

Park in the car park of the Gilsland Hall hotel (formerly Gilsland Spa, and now closed completely).

The third location, Gilsland Gorge, is a circular walk of 2.5 km with 66m of ascent/descent. This section is largely on good paths, there is one exposure which is reached by traversing some woodland with fallen trees which requires a little agility, this can be bypassed if required. Some sections of the path are muddy.

We will visit the spa and view the original source of the spa. There are a number of faults in the Gilsland fault belt through this area, which have controlled the development of the post-glacial gorge. There are exposures of sandstone and shale of the Tyne Limestone formation. We will also see the well-known ‘Popping Stones’.

End of itinerary

We can return to House of Meg before heading home.

A photograph and geological notes are available on the members’ area of the website.