Wales

(and Shropshire, England)

Cambria: Land of Trilobites, Dragons and SOng

Cardiff to Cardiff
3 - 10 May, 2018
£840
Includes 3 National Parks, 2 Geoparks and 3 World Heritage Sites
Exclusive small group tour, number of participants : 2 - 6
Prices are per person, based on 2 people sharing a room.  Single supplement is an additional £60 per night. Prices reduce slightly with more participants because we do not profit on transportation which is included at cost price.

Bwa Maen a folded anticline, one of the best examples of a Variscan structure in South Wales
Sgwd Clun Gwyn waterfall - Fforest Fawr Geopark.
The view of Pen-y-Fan from Mynydd Illtyd
The former Ironworks at the Blaenavon World Heritage Site, where Edward Pritchard Martin , James Cresswell's great great grandfather used to be the general manager.
Gilwern Hill Triobite Quarry
Road across the Long Mynd - Shropshire
The Wrekin - Shropshire
Llanfair P.G. in the GeoMon Geopark in Anglesey, the longest place name in the world and home to blueschist rocks that were formed in ancient subduction zone.
Parys Mountain in the 19th Century this was the largest copper mine in the world.
Caernarfon Castle part of the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd World Heritage Site.
Ride the train to the summit of Wales, Mount Snowdon. This great mountain is made from volcanic rock that erupted in the Ordovician and has been sculpted by glaciers in the Ice Ages.
Folding in the coal measures at Broad Haven
The Triassic Dinosaur trackway near Barry

ITINERARY

Day 1 - Arrive in Cardiff the Capital of Wales. Cardiff has its own international airport and is only 2 hours by train from London.


Day 2 - Fforest Fawr Geopark, Brecon Beacons National Park and Blaenavon World Heritage Site. The day starts by heading out of Cardiff on the main road north to Merthyr Tydfil. We then enter the Brecon Beacons National Park at Pontneddfechan, where we see can see fossil trees in the 'Farewell Rock' and a Variscan fold, the Neath Disturbance Fault and the Sychrhyd waterfall. We then travel on Sgwd Isaf Glun Gwyn waterfall and then the largest cave opening in Wales called Porth y Ogof. We then journey to a great view point of Pen-y-Fan the highest mountain in the National Park that is made up of Devonian Old Red Sandstone. Our final stop of the day is the Blaenavon World Heritage Site, where we can descend the Big Pit coal mine and visit the iron works was managed by your guide; great great grandfather where steel was first made from high sulphur coal. The night is spent at your guide's home which is also a 4 star B&B.

Day 3 - Mid Wales Trilobites and Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Our fist stop this morning is Gilwern Hill Trilobite Quarry. This is on a remote farm in the vicinity of Llandrindod Wells. We spend the whole morning there collecting our own trilobites. We then travel to Stanner Rocks which are the oldest rocks in Wales and England (except for some melange in Anglesey). We then cross the border into England and  visit Ludlow that lends its name to the Silurian epoch. We also examine the famous Ludlow Bone Bed. We then visit the Long Mynd and spend the night in Cravern Arms.

Day 4 - Shropshire Hills and Ironbridge World Heritage Site. Our first stop of the day is Caer Caradoc the site of a battle between the Brtions and Romans that lends its name to the Caradoc in the Ordovician. We then visit Wenlock Edge which lends its name to the Wenlock epoch of the Silurian. This is followed by a visit to Ironbridge World Heritage Site which was recently voted the 2nd most popular geosite in Britain and Ireland. We then visit the The Wrekin which sits in one of the most geodiverse square kilometers anywhere in the world. We then drive up to north Wales pausing for a view of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct World Heritage Site before reaching Llandudno where we spend the night.

Day 5 - The Great Orme and the GeoMon Geopark. The first stop of the day is the Great Orme Roman Copper Mine. We then cross the Menai Straits to the Island of Anglesey which forms the GeoMon Geopark. Our first stop on the island is at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch, the longest place name in the world or Llanfair P.G. for short! Here we can see Precambrain blueschist rocks that were formed in a subduction zone. This is followed by a visit the railway station and the famous place name signs. We then head on to South Stack. This is an RSPB reserve with spectacular Cambrian folded schists and quartzites which are considered to be world class.  Our next stop is Cemaes Bay near Llanbadrog to see the oldest rocks in England and Wales. These 800 million year old stromatolites are contained with the melange that was formed by the ancient subduction zone. Then we call into  Amlwch Port and the Geopark Visitor Centre, before  visiting Parys Mountain. Here smokers, rising from under the sea bed disseminated copper and other metals into the Silurian-age mudstones on the sea floor. During the 19th century, Parys Mountain was the largest copper producer in the world. The ore was exported from Amlwch Port.  When copper prices rise, the mines are to reopen. Mining has taken place sporadically from Bronze Age to present times. We then cross the Menai Strait back to mainland Wales and spend the night in Caernarfon.

Day 6 - Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd World Heritage Site and Snowdon National Park. First thing in the morning we make a quick visit to Caernarfon Castle which is a show piece of the World Heritage Site. We then drive to  the Ogwen Step, where a Roman Bridge can be seen hidden right under the main road bridge. Here tuff beds of volcanic ash can be seen and in one bed there are many fossil brachiopods that were killed by a volcanic eruption. We then take a walk into Cwm Idwal, a spectacular glaciated valley where we will see Darwin's Boulders. This is where he first realised Britain must have once been glaciated. We then travel around to the Pass of Llanberis where we can observe the rock close up. Snowdonia was once part of an ancient caldera. We then continue to the village of Llanberis itself where we can see the Dinorwig Power Station and Slate Quarry before taking the train to the summit of Snowdon. At 1085 m above sea level this is the highest point in Wales. The scenery on a clear day is staggeringly beautiful and the summit is a great place to observe the glacial features of the National Park. After descending the summit we drive through the village of Tremadog, again an Ordovician epoch, to reach Aberystwyth where we spend the night.

Day 7 - Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Our first stop of the day is a quick look at the turbidite layers in Aberystwyth before heading to the Pentre Irfan burial chamber in the Preseili Mountains in the Pembrokeshire National Park. It is from the Preseili Mountains that the Bluestones of Stonehenge originated. Our next stop is Abereiddi Bay and Llanvirn Farm, which lends its name to the Llanvirn of the Ordovician. Abereiddi Bay  is a former slate quarry with a beautiful blue lagoon, graptolites are very common here. We then visit Saint David's, the smallest city in Britain. Its amazing Cathedral is made from beautiful purple Cambrian sandstones. The next stop is the famous fossil site of Porth y Rhaw. Here the rocks are Cambrian in age. This is the site where in 1862 palaeontologist J.W. Salter discovered the  Paradoxides davidis, trilobite laterthe exact same species as trilobites found in the rocks of Newfoundland. Our last stop of the day is at Broad Haven where we can see amazing Variscan folds in the coal measures. The night is spent in Haverfordwest.

Day 8 - Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Glamorgan Heritage Coast. Our fist stop of the day is Stackpole Quay where impressive folds and faults are seen in the Carbonifeous limestone. There are also fossil crinoids to be seen. We then continue to Skrinkle Haven. Here we can see the Carboniferous / Devonian contact, and the vertical strata of the rocks forming the cliffs. We then then pass through the picturesque town of Tenby and head to Saunderfoot to see the famous Lady's Anticline Fold. We then have a 2 hour drive to Barry near Cardiff where we see the best Triassic Dinosaur trackway in Europe. This is followed by Lavernock point where the Triassic/ Jurassic boundary can be seen, there are many ammonites in the hard layers and recently a new species of Welsh dinosaur was discovered. Our tour then ends in the city of Cardiff where you will spend the night in a hotel.

Day 9 - Depart.



Transportation is in an 8 seater mpv.