Barr Beacon is a geological site of exceptional importance due to its location next to one of the great geological faults that runs through the Black Country.
It borders the Black Country’s exposed coalfield and long exposures of Hopwas Breccia (sandstone with thin beds of quartzite breccia) and Kidderminster Formation, comprising a thick pebble mass with thinner sandstones.
Its summit provides an excellent view point of the surrounding areas. To the east, the grey and red mud rocks of the coal measures from the Carboniferous period form the landscape. These were formed in a steaming swamp forest between 310-315 million years ago.
The rocks which form the Hill are a mixture of red sandstones, pebble beds and breccias which were formed in semi arid desert conditions within a vast river complex which flowed across the landscape during the early Triassic Period, between 241 and 248 million years ago.
The rocks to the east have been vertically displaced by hundreds of metres on the Great Barr Fault, having the effect of placing rocks of very different ages immediately alongside each other. This fault was created as the landscape was torn apart by earth movements about 220 million years ago.
Cutting into the eastern hillside and running towards Birmingham city centre is a ‘v’ shaped valley. This is now dry and long abandoned by the river that created at the end of the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago.
Spectacular exposures of the red Triassic rocks are available in Pinfold Lane Quarry which is a short walk, 100m south of the viewpoint.
This is a very important scientific and education site. The rock faces are designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and are protected under planning and development control legislation and policy.
Collecting is permitted from the loose scree that continually builds up at the foot of the rock faces but is not permitted from rock faces. The pebbles from the the scree may contain transported fossils.
There is a large free car park at the summit of the hill. There is currently no visitor centre, cafe or toilets at the site, so plan your visit with this in mind. For more information, including obtaining copies of leaflets, details about events and guided walks, call +044 (0)1922 654220.
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