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Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve is a classic geological site of exceptional importance for the quality and diversity of its fossils and spectacular mining heritage. This is one of the most notable geological locations in the British Isles and visited and studied by geologists from all over the world. It was England’s first national nature reserve established for its exceptional limestone geology in 1956. Rocks and fossils here belong to the Silurian period of the earth’s history and are between 427.7 and 429 million years old.

It is a large public access urban nature reserve covering some 101 acres (45 Hectares) in area. There are four way-marked walks at the site and many geoart sculptures, featuring viewing platforms and places to search in the scree for fossils.               

Over 700 different types of fossil can be found here; 186 types of which were first discovered and described here and 86 are found nowhere else on earth.


This is a very important scientific and educational site. The rock faces and mining features are designated as nationally important and protected under UK laws. The protection covers both geology as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and for mining heritage as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM).

Fossil collecting is permitted from the loose scree that continually builds op at the foot of the rock faces but is not permitted from rock faces.

Geosite facilities

There is currently no visitor centre, cafe or toilets at the site, so plan your visit with this in mind.

  • Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve

For more information, including copies of leaflets, details about events and guided walks, call + 44 (0)1384 812785 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm). 

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