Geosite No 39
The Rowley Hills
This geosite covers the highest landforms of the Black Country that are produced by the resistant nature of a large, Upper Carboniferous, faulted lopolithic intrusion of olivine dolerite beneath the landscape here. These hills offer commanding views in all directions and have a long history of aggregate quarrying. Exposures around the hill provide evidence of the nature of emplacement and effects on country rocks of the intrusion. The largest quarry on the hill is the Hailsone Quarry which is a very large and deep aggregate quarry that finally ceased its quarrying activity in 2010.
Partly infilled, there are long standing restoration plans for infill that wil lbe requiring re-appraisal of the planning permission before such levels of infill are met. Consultation is occurring for alternative restoration options including partial hard development of the quarry floor with rockfaces retained for educational and recreational purposes. It lies within the area proposed for the establishment of a Rowley Hill Country Park. It is steeped in the quarrying history and its rockfaces contain very rare twisted and curving cooling joints which are thought to mirror the contact surfaces of the intrusion with the surrounding country rock.
Small faults with breccias and vein infill are also present in the quarry faces. The upper terraces of the quarry contain good examples of columnar jointing and a full weathered profile with 'onion skin' exfoliation. Currently in private ownership no public access is possible but representation has been made on future plans for the quarry and this site has considerable potential for geoeducation and geotourism. The area has an active community friends group, there is a geology leaflet available for the hills and many footpaths and local amenities are present on and around the site.