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Silly question about Leicestershire Slate

tomferry

Active member
Hello Tom .

As far as I am aware it’s always been iron stone and coal , I can advise on books of either of them , I have never heard of slate in Leicestershire though. Apart from me and Chris , I don’t think you will find much more information I could be wrong though .
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
Wow, thanks guys!

https://www.claudesmith.co.uk/ didn't realise the quarry ("mine") was still producing too!! So Northampton "slate" as well as Leicestershire slate. I'm learning loads here.

That said, I'm too much of a total pedant to be able to resist mentioning technically... it's a variety of limestone (unlike the Leicestershire Cambrian slate of the Charnwood Forest anticline) but they look like slate act like slate and everyone calls it "slate".. so slate it is!

Thanks again
 

ChrisJC

Well-known member
It's pretty crap stuff. Hence the total lack of popularity!
And here is a picture from one of the underground quarries.

Chris.
 

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pwhole

Well-known member
Is this the monster bed of grey rock that the M1 goes through twice on low hills just outside Leicester? I seem to remember that's the oldest rock in England, and it took a while to blast through it's so hard. We once got stuck in a mega-jam, fortuitously right by the blasted section, so I got to have a ood look, and there are some seriously large shotholes left in the face.
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
I'll keep my eyes open for those cuttings next time I drive that way, although hope not to be stuck in a jam to get a full inspection
 

pwhole

Well-known member
I'll keep my eyes open for those cuttings next time I drive that way, although hope not to be stuck in a jam to get a full inspection

That article looks great - thanks, I'll read it later. If you have a look on Google Earth, the two main outcrops they blasted through are between junctions 22 and 23, running through a set of quarries, which you can't see at all from the road - I had no idea there were so many. I set elevation exaggeration to 3, which made it a bit easier. But if you go on Street View you can get stuck in a jam without leaving your desk ;)
 

Andy Farrant

Active member
The M1 cuttings are in the Bradgate Formation, which are mostly volcaniclastic rocks, formed by volcanic ash falling into the sea. They are some of the oldest rocks in England, and also contain some of the earliest fossils in the world (http://www.ediacaran.org/charnwood-uk.html), including the remains of rare soft-bodied organisms indictative of the Ediacaran fauna. The rocks are well exposed in Bradgate Park north of Leicester - see
 

RobinGriffiths

Well-known member
If you look at the geological map of the area, it's all Triassic with inliers of Pre-cambrian all over the place. Reading my BGS regional guide last night, it appears that the Triassic was deposited as a veneer onto a 'fossil' Pre-cambrian land surface, with the topographic highs now appearing as 'windows' into the Pre-cambrian. Didn't David Attenborough go searching for fossils here?
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
I lived in Coventry for a while, while I was there I didn't appreciate that there was anything quite so geologically interesting nearby. I would have had a good nosy if I'd realised. A missed opportunity for sure
 

tobyk

Member
I used to climb a fair bit in Leicestershire, and it’s a bit of a gem in the midlands. The geology is really varied for such a compact area, with granite at swithland reservoir and mark field quarry (near to the exposed rocks on the M1 which I thought of as a fine grained granite but maybe andesite.). Plenty of slate in the wood house eaves area, with a shortish quarried tunnel in forest rock. There’s also Horn stone at Beacon hill, which polishes very easy and incredibly dense.
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
So have I, until Friday last week I had no idea there was (real) slate in Leicestershire or the complexity and age of the rock that outcrops due to that anticline or even that there had been a volcano there at all
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
Yep, sure is.

Chris.
I skimmed through a video about RAF Colleyweston (interesting that from 1943 onwards they flew captured German aircraft from there) and near the start there's some driving about footage and many of the buildings have Colleyweston "slates".
Looks very nice, rustic, goes with those buildings nicely. Must have come out of the underground quarries that you posted a pic?
 
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