The Black Country is one of the world’s classic areas of geology. Its past ancient environments of shallow tropical limestone seas, vast steaming swamp forests, scorching deserts and frozen icy wastelands created the very varied patchwork of rock types and geological structures that we can see and explore today.
These rock layers are simply amazing. They span more than 428 million years of the history of planet Earth and contain some of the most beautiful and rare fossils and richest deposits of industrial minerals to be found anywhere on Earth.
The area has impressive geological pedigree. It is home to an internationally important geological ‘national treasure’ – The Wrens Nest National Nature Reserve (NNR). This was England’s first ever national nature reserve for solid geology and was designated in 1956 for the quality of its fossil beds and geological structures. The area also has 16 nationally important Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and 105 sites of Importance for Nature Conservation that are protected within the planning and development framework of the Black Country.