England & Wales
Jurassic Coast & the Complete Geologic Timescale
london TO Hereford
Exclusive small group tour, number of participants : 4-10
24 April - 5 May 2022 *FULL*
12 days/11 nights
Prices are per person, based on 2 people sharing a room. Single supplement applies, please make contact for details.
Price includes bed & breakfast accommodation, transportation, geological guiding and all entrance fees.
Includes 5 World Heritage Sites (and a proposed one), 4 UNESCO Global Geoparks, 1 National Geopark, 2 National Parks
and rocks from every (Phanerozoic) Geological time Period
England and Wales are, together, one of the world's most geodiverse destinations, where is possible to see rocks of almost every geological time period. In fact, it is argued the area contains the world’s most geodiverse 10km grid square, which we visit on this tour. It is no wonder that the foundations of geological science were built both here and in neighbouring Scotland. The Cambrian, Ordovician, and Silurian periods are named after Wales, while the Devonian is named after Devon, in England. The area’s rich geology had all the ingredients to give rise the Industrial Revolution, a legacy that we see at several locations. On this special trip you will have the chance to search for Jurassic fossils in Lyme Regis, Silurian fossils in the Midlands and Ordovician trilobites in Mid Wales. You will see Jurassic and Triassic dinosaur trackways, and descend a coal mine, a silver mine, and a prehistoric copper mine. In addition, you will stand on the world’s first iron bridge, visit five World Heritage Sites and five Geoparks. To top it all off, we will visit an outcrop from every period of geological time since the Precambrian!
Stonehenge World Heritage Site (Day 2)
Permian aged fossilised sand dunesat Dawlish in Devon (Day 3)
The ammonite graveyard on Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis on the Jurassic Coast (Day 3)
Looking for fossils on the famous Charmouth Beach in the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site (Day 3)
The perfectly round bay of Lulworth Cove on the Jurassic Coast (Day 4)
One of our participants lying inside a fossilised tree at the Lulworth Fossil Forest on the Jurassic Coast (Day 4)
Pliosaur model in the foyer of The Etches Collection museum (Day 4)
The grave of Mary Anning who is remembered as one of the greatest fossil discoverers ever to have lived (Day 5)
Cheddar Cheese maturing in Gough Cave in the village of Cheddar. Cheddar Cheese is now produced all over the world but originates from the village of Cheddar. Gough Cave is also the discovery site of Britain's oldest complete human skeleton. (Day 5)
James Cresswell pointing to dinosaur tracks on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. These tracks are the best Triassic dinosaur trackway in Europe (Day 6).
Our group in hard hats ready to descend the Big Pit in the Blaenavon World Heritage Site for an underground coal mine tour (Day 7)
The Brecon Beacons in the Fforest Fawr Geopark. These peaks are the highest in southern Britain and are made of Devonian aged rocks (Day 7)
Find your own Ordovician trilobites near Llandrindod Wells (Day 8)
Craig Goch Dam in the Elan Valley (Day 8)
Penmaenpool toll bridge across the River Mawddach with Welsh gold mine spoil heaps on the mountain behind
Great Orme, Bronze Age copper mine (Day 9)
Precambrian meta-sediments showing folds on the back of folds at South Stack in the GeoMon UNESCO Global Geopark(Day 9)
A GeoWorld Travel group standing infront of Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales (Day 10)
James Cresswell points to an Ordovician volcanic bomb in the Cromlech Boulders at the base of Snowdon (Day 10)
Darwin's Boulders in Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia National park (Day 10)
The Wrekin is situated in the World's most geodiverse 10km grid square and is mainly made of Precambrian volcanic rock (Day 11)
Lavington Hole, a man made cave in Permain sandstone, in the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark (Day 11)
Caer Cardoc and the Long Mynd seen from Wenlock Edge. Caer Cardoc was the base of King Caradog who led the Siluries and Ordovicies tribes against the Romans. The Ordovician and Silurian Periods were named after these tribes. Caradog also lends his name to the Caradoc age of the Ordovician.
The Llandovery, Wenlock and Ludlow Epochs of the Silurian are named after places we visit on this trip. (Llandovery is visited on Day 7, Tremadog on Day 8, Wenlock, Ludlow and Caer Caradoc are on Day 11)
Ludford Corner in Ludlow, where the Ludlow Bone bed is exposed and Murchison originally placed the Silurian/ Devonian boundary (Day 11)
Day 1 - Arrive in London. We will meet at a London Heathrow Airport hotel in the evening and we will spend our first night here.
Day 2 - Stonehenge World Heritage Site and The English Riviera Geopark. In the morning we drive to Stonehenge World Heritage site, a prehistoric ring of standing stones set within earthworks. The inner stones, called the Bluestones, are Ordovician dolerite which come from the Preseli mountains in west Wales. The Altar Stone is from the Brecon Beacons, also in Wales and visited later in the trip. The large Sarsen stones were from a source local to Stonehenge. After lunch at Stonehenge we drive on to the English Riviera UNESCO Geopark, in the county of Devon. Here we visit Kents Cavern. This cave is carved out of Devonian-aged rocks; here we first discuss the Devonian Controversy, learning how the County of Devon lent its name to the Devonian period, then we enter the cave. The cave is one of Britain's key palaeolithic sites, as it is the discovery site of many Ice Age cave bear fossils and a jaw bone from what could be the oldest modern human fossil to be discovered in north-west Europe. We then spend the night within the geopark in the Victorian resort town of Torquay.
Day 3 - Permian desert dunes and Lyme Regis in the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Our first stop is to see spectacularly preserved Permian-aged fossil desert dunes in the town of Dawlish. Our next stop is Monmouth Beach in Lyme Regis where we will spend the remainder of the morning, viewing giant ammonites and the 'ammonite graveyard'. We then have lunch beside Lyme's scenic harbour wall (The Cobb), before spending the whole afternoon on Lyme's eastern beach. This beach is perhaps the most famous fossil beach in the world! It is here that Mary Anning, Lyme Regis's most famous daughter, described as 'the greatest fossilist the world ever knew', found her famous ichthyosaur and plesiosaur fossils. We will scour the same beach, searching for our own fossils. The rocks that make up the cliffs are Jurassic in age. Ammonites and belemnites are most commonly found, but with luck, ichthyosaur bones can occasionally be found. We will then sleep in Lyme Regis.
Day 4 - Lulworth Cove, the Etches Collection and Dinosaur Footprints, in the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Today we take a day trip from Lyme Regis to the eastern area of the Jurassic Coast. Our first stop is a viewpoint above Chesil Beach, Britain's longest barrier beach. The next stop is the famous Lulworth Cove, where the sea cuts through the harder Jurassic Purbeck limestone to the softer Cretaceous chalk behind, which has eroded to form a perfect bay. At this site we can also see folded Jurassic rocks that form the Lulworth Crumple. There is the option of a 3-mile round-trip hike to view the Fossil Forest. After lunch in the cove, we drive to the village of Kimmeridge; this village lends its name to both the Kimmeridgian stage of the Upper Jurassic and to the Kimmeridge clay which has yielded many important fossils and is the source rock for North Sea oil. In Kimmeridge we will visit The Etches Collection Museum of Jurassic Marine Life, which contains over 2000 specimens that were found in the Kimmeridge Clay - including the world's first known ammonite eggs! We then move on to a recently discovered sauropod dinosaur trackway. Our final stop is to see some Paleogene sands near Wareham before we then drive back to Lyme Regis for a second night
Day 5 - Free time in Lyme Regis, Glastonbury Tor and Cheddar Gorge and Caves. We start the morning in Lyme Regis and before setting off we have two hours free time to allow you to visit both the Dinosaur Land Fossil Museum and the Lyme Regis Museum, where you can learn all about fossilling legend Mary Anning. There are also several fossil shops to visit. We then drive to Cheddar Gorge. En route we pass a great view of Glastonbury Tor. Here we stop for photos and learn how the tor is possibly the island of Avalon of Arthurian legend. We then also pass by Glastonbury Abbey which is the alleged burial place of King Arthur. At lunchtime we arrive in the famous village of Cheddar, where the cheese originates. Cheddar is also home to several caves and the spectacular Cheddar Gorge. After lunch we visit the gorge which is cut into Carboniferous limestone and Gough's Cave. The cave is the discovery site of Britain's oldest complete human skeleton: Cheddar Man, which is about 9,100 years old. We then drive on, crossing the Severn Estuary, which has the second highest tide range in the world, via the Prince of Wales Bridge to reach Cardiff, the Capital of Wales. The Latin name for Wales is Cambria, and it is after Wales that the Cambrian Period is named. We spend the next two nights in Cardiff.
Day 6 - Welsh Dinosaurs, the National Museum of Wales, and free time in Cardiff. We spend the morning outside Cardiff visiting two dinosaur sites. Our first stop is the best Triassic dinosaur trackway in Europe, situated just outside the town of Barry. There are several different sizes and kinds of footprints in the rocks here. Small, three-toed footprints were probably made by small, meat-eating (theropod) dinosaurs which walked on their hind legs. Large three-toed footprints may belong to a larger theropod. Some wider, four-toed footprints may belong to a plant-eating dinosaur which usually walked on all fours. These are the footprints of some of the earliest dinosaurs in the world. At this time, 220 million years ago, dinosaurs had not long evolved from other crocodile-like reptiles and these ancestral animals were still present. Our next stop is Lavernock Point. Here 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 here - we can touch the exact place that the dinosaur was excavated! The dinosaur was found just a few centimetres above the Jurassic/Triassic boundary, making it the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur in the world. We then head back into Cardiff and have a free afternoon. In this time, it is suggested that you visit the National Museum of Wales, which has an excellent Geology of Wales exhibit, including the recently discovered Welsh Dinosaur fossil. You may also have time to visit Cardiff Castle which is partly Norman and partly Roman. We spend a second night in Cardiff.
Day 7 – The Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark, the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site & the Brecon Beacons National Park. We leave the Welsh capital, which was once the home of the world’s largest port, and drive north through the South Wales valleys which once produced the coal that was exported at Cardiff, to reach Merthyr Tydfil. Merthyr once had the world’s four largest ironworks and was the site of the world’s first train journey. Here we make a brief stop at the ruins of one of the ironworks before continuing to the Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark, which is also within the Brecon Beacons National Park. Our first stop there is to see a Variscan fold called Bwa Maen, the Neath Valley Disturbance fault, the Sychrhyd waterfall, an adit of a former silica mine and, legend has it, the resting place of King Arthur's Army. Our next stop is nearby, and here we see some fossil trees and the ‘Farewell Rock’, a band of sandstone that iron miners knew not to dig below because it marked the base of the ironstone deposits. We then relocate along the southern boundary of the National Park, to reach the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. Here we can descend the Big Pit coal mine joining an underground tour led by former miners. We also visit the Blaenavon Ironworks where steel was first made from high sulfur iron ore, enabling the Industrial Revolution to begin around the world (James’s great-great-grandfather was the General Manager here when this breakthrough was made!) We then re-enter the Brecon Beacons National Park and see a historic limekiln and canal in the village of Gilwern, where GeoWorld Travel is based. Next, we move on to a great viewpoint of Llangorse Lake and the main peaks of the Brecon Beacons, where we learn about the Ice Age glaciation that sculpted them. From here, we re-enter the Fforest Fawr Geopark, visiting another magnificent viewpoint, on Mynydd Illtyd, here all four mountain ranges of the Brecon Beacons National Park can be seen. Additionally, we see a moraine, a wetland where early climate change work was done, a kettle hole, a fossilised Devonian river channel and an Iron Age fort. Mynydd Illtyd is named after St Illtyd who was said to be King Arthur's cousin. The next stop is the oldest tree in Europe a yew tree in a graveyard of a church which has a Roman grave and Viking font. The final stop is the town of Llandovery, which lends its name to the Llandovery epoch of the Silurian. Here we see the 'Golden Spike' of the Telychian stage of the Llandovery epoch and discuss the concept of stratigraphy. The night is spent in the spa town of Llandrindod Wells which in Victorian times was famed for its chalybeate springs.
Day 8 – Trilobites, Silver, Gold and the Cambrian System. Our first stop of the day is the Lower Gilwern Trilobite Quarry, this site is the best place in Great Britain to find trilobites! We spend several hours here finding and collecting our own fossils - a real highlight of the tour! We then drive through the beautiful Elan Valley with its scenic Victorian dams to reach Cwmystwyth, a where lead was mined from the Bronze Age until the early 20th century, here it is possible to find our own samples of galena and chaclopyrite. Cwmystwyth is part of the Central Wales Ore Field where copper, lead and silver were mined. Our next stop is the LLywernog Lead-Silver mine (The Silver Mountain), where we have lunch and take an underground tour. We then then continue north and enter the Snowdonia National Park. We have magnificent views of Cadair Idris mountain which is made from an erosion resistant Ordovician granophyre sill. On the northern side of Cadair Idris, on the banks of the Afon Mawddach, we stop to view (from a distance) the famous Clogau gold mine which is high on the hill above. The mine is currently inactive but has, for over 100 years, been the source of the gold for the British Royal Family, and jewellery containing Welsh gold is still very much sought after. The gold is in a quartz vein named the “St. David’s Lode” which cuts through Cambrian aged sediments of the Harlech Dome. These Cambrian rocks have a further interest, as they, along with other Cambrian-aged rocks in North Wales, are the first identified Cambrian-aged rocks anywhere in the world. In 1835 Adam Sedgwick proposed placing them in the Cambrian “Series” (later known as the Cambrian Period), which he named after Cambria the Latin name for Wales. Our journey then continues through the Cambrian-aged rocks of the Harlech Dome passing the Harlech Castle World Heritage Site and Tremadog, which lends its name to the Tremadocian stage of the Ordovician to reach Caernarfon where we spend the next two nights.
Day 9 - The Great Orme Prehistoric Copper Mine, Conwy World Heritage Site and the GeoMôn UNESCO Global Geopark. Our first stop of the day is the Great Orme prehistoric Copper Mine. Here we can descend into the mine shafts that were carved out by Bronze Age workers thousands of years ago. We then drive through the World Heritage Site of Conwy Castle and its Walled Town pausing for some photos, before crossing over the sea on a bridge to reach the Isle of Anglesey. The whole island has been designated a UNESCO global geopark, the GeoMôn Geopark. The fist stop in the Geopark is South Stack. Here we see folded Precambrian (Ediacaran) rock that shows smaller folds on the back of larger ones. The site is also a RSPB nature reserve and a great place to see sea birds. We then move on to a site where we can see some of the youngest rocks in southern Britain alongside some of the oldest ones. At Trwyn y Parc in Cemaes Bay we see Ediacaran rocks that contain stromatolites this is one of very few sites in Britain where Precambrian fossils can be seen. Furthermore, the Precambrian rock also contains potholes which are infilled with Miocene sediments that contain plant fossils. This site is one of only three sites in the whole of Britain that has Miocene aged rocks. In addition, the site has a further geological feature. There are large limestone blocks within the Precambrian schist which are known as the Gwna Melange and are interpreted to have been formed in an Ediacaran subduction zone. The blocks in the Melange are on unknown age but have to be older than the surrounding rocks and are therefore some of the oldest rocks in England and Wales. We then visit Parys Mountain which during the 19th century was the largest copper mine in the world, but has in fact been sporadically mined since the Bronze Age. The copper was deposited by undersea smokers at a Silurian mid ocean spreading ridge. Our final stops are in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch, the longest place name in the world or Llanfair P.G. for short! Firstly, we see Precambrian blueschist rocks that were formed in a subduction zone, followed by a visit to the railway station and the famous place name sign. We return to Caernarfon for the night.
Day 10 – Snowdonia National Park and World Heritage Sites. We have a free morning allowing you to explore the Caernarfon Castle and the walled town which along with Harlech, Conwy and Beaumaris Castles form The Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd World Heritage Site. We then drive into the heart of Snowdonia National Park to the village of Llanberis at the foot of Wales’s tallest mountain Snowdon. Here we view the Dinorwig Slate quarry from the grounds of Dolbadarn Castle. The slate is Cambrian in age and the quarry, along with others nearby, has been nominated to be World Heritage Site (the decision is expected during in summer 2021). Our next stop is the Cromlech boulders which gives us a chance to examine the Ordovician volcanic rock that the Snowdon massive is made from. This is followed by a Snowdon viewpoint before we reach 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 realized Britain must have once been glaciated. We then leave the Snowdonia National Park and head towards Shrewsbury in England. Just before we reach the border, we stop for a comfort break at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct World Heritage Site and we can walk out onto the structure to take a few photos. The night is spent in the town of Shrewsbury, the birthplace of Charles Darwin.
Day 11- The World’s most geodiverse 10 km grid square, two more Geoparks, and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Our first two stops today are situated in the 10km Ordnance Survey National Grid square which is arguably the most the most varied 100 square kilometres of geology in the World, in terms of its variety of rock type, age and structure from Pre-Cambrian to Quaternary. The first of these is Shropshire’s most famous hill The Wrekin. Here we see the famous Uriconian volcanics with rhyolites, tuffs and agglomerates which formed in an island arc 680 million years ago in the Cryogenian Period. We also see Ediacaran aged intrusions which have Cambrian sediments with ripples and fossils lying unconformably on top. The area is also the site of the Church Stretton fault which was once a plate boundary where different terranes collided. Also situated within the same grid square is our next stop, the Ironbridge World Heritage Site. This site was recently voted by the Geological Society as being the second most popular geosite in Britain and is widely regarded as the birthplace of the industrial revolution. Floodwater at the end of the Ice Age cut a gorge through Silurian limestones and Carboniferous iron and coal deposits, revealing all the ingredients for industrialisation. In 1709 the world’s first coke-fired blast furnace was built here. This was followed by a whole series of world firsts including the first cast iron rails, the first iron wheels, the first steam cylinders, the first steam locomotives, first iron boats and most famously the world’s first iron bridge, after which the town is named. We visit one of the early coke furnaces and stand on the iron bridge discussing the geology. We then move on the England’s newest UNESCO Global Geopark that was inscribed in 2020, the Black Country Geopark, in Dudley. Here we visit the Wren’s Nest which is a Lagerstätte (site of exceptional fossil preservation) within the Silurian Wenlock limestone. The site was once a seabed that has been preserved by volcanic ash that rained down from the skies 428 million years ago, burying the seabed in minutes. Considered the most diverse and abundant fossil site in the British Isles, more than 700 types of fossil have been found here, 86 of which are unique to the location, including Calymene blumenbachii, a trilobite nicknamed the Dudley Bug or Dudley Locust by 18th century quarrymen. The site was originally studied by the Scottish palaeontologist Sir Roderick Murchison, whose work in defining the Silurian System was mainly based on fossils and rock formations found at the site. We spend an hour here finding our own fossils before having lunch in a nearby pub. We then visit a site in the Abberley and Malvern Hills National Geopark in the town of Bridgnorth, a man-made cave in Permian-aged sandstone, called Lavington’s Hole. Next we return to that geodiverse grid square to reach Much Wenlock. Much Wenlock lends its name to the Wenlock epoch of the Silurian and has the golden spikes of the Homerian and Sheinwoodian stages of the Wenlock epoch. It also lies on one of Britain’s most important geosites, Wenlock Edge, an 18-mile-long limestone escarpment that runs from Ironbridge to Craven Arms. The Edge demonstrates the best examples of reef development during the Silurian Period in Britain. Here we examine the reef at it thickest point at Ippikin’s Rock. We also admire the view to the nearby hills of Caer Caradoc and Long Mynd. These hills are in an alignment with the Wrekin on the Church Stretton Fault. They are also made of Precambrian rock. The summit of Caer Caradoc is crowned with a Bronze Age hillfort that was the base of King Caradoc. Around 2000 years ago there was a great battle somewhere nearby, where Caradoc led the Ordovices and Silures tribes in a last stand against the Roman invasion of Britain. It is from these tribes that the Ordovician and Silurian periods are named. Caer Caradoc also lends its name to the Caradoc British regional epoch of the Ordovician. Our final stops of the day are in the town of Ludlow which, once again, is recognized internationally as the name of a Silurian epoch. Here we visit the famous Ludford Corner Site of Special Scientific Interest where the Ludlow Bone bed is found. Sir Roderick Murchison originally claimed this site marked the Silurian/Devonian boundary (both geological periods he himself established), due to the change from marine to terrestrial conditions. We then leave Ludlow, pausing at viewpoint over the town where the mighty Ludlow Castle can be seen and at a roadside outcrop that marks the golden spike of the Gorstein stage of the Ludlow epoch, to head to Hereford where we spend our final night.
Day 12- The tour ends in the City of Hereford. From Hereford it is easy to return to London by direct train (only 3 hours), or direct coach to Heathrow Airport. We can help you buy your tickets. Before leaving Hereford you may want to visit the Cathedral, which contains the Mappa Mundi, the largest medieval map known to exist, dating from around 1300. En route back to London we recommend you break your journey the City of Bath (there are luggage storage facilities just outside the station entrance). Bath is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site and its Roman Baths are an important geosite, being Britain’s best example of geothermal springs.
Once back in London we also recommend you stay a few extra days because there is so much of geological interest to see including: The Natural History Museum, which has one of the finest geological and palaeontological collections in the world; The Geological Society where William Smith's original geological map is displayed; the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, the world's first dinosaur sculptures (incorrect by modern standards) and the nearby Horniman Museum; Westminster Abbey which contains a range of decorative stones from Britain as well as Roman building stones and Egyptian Gabbro; The Thames Barrier which prevents London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges; Farringdon Station one of the world's first underground stations, which epitomises the link between engineering geology and the history of London; and Highgate Cemetery, notable for some of the famous people buried there as well as the wide range of rock types used as headstones. In addition, and if six World Heritage Sites has not been enough for you, London has an additional four that you could visit! These are: the Tower of London, the Palace of Westminster, Kew Gardens and Maritime Greenwich.
Geological Period and Site Visited
Quaternary: Gough Cave and Kents Cavern
Neogene (Miocene epoch): Cemaes Bay
Paleogene (Eocene epoch): Redcliff Point
Cretaceous: Lulworth Cove
Jurassic: Lyme Regis, Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge and Lavernock Point
Triassic: Dinosaur tracks at Bendrick Rocks and Lavernock Point
Permian: Dawlish & Lavington Hole
Carboniferous: Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Big Pit Coal Mine, Ironbridge
Devonian: Kents Cavern and The Brecon Beacons
Silurian: Llandovery, Elan Valley, Llanwernog Silver Mine, Ironbridge, Wren's Nest, Wenlock & Ludlow
Ordovician: Snowdon volcano, and Lower Gilwern trilobite quarry
Cambrian: Harlech Dome gold mines, Dinorwic Slate Quarry, and The Wrekin
Ediacaran (Precambrian): Cemaes Bay, The Wrekin & Caer Caradoc
Cyrogenian (Precambrian): The Wrekin
UNESCO PHOTO GALLERY
This tour is packed with UNESCO designated sites including five UNESCO Global Geoparks, and five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Hover your cursor over the image to view the caption or click on an image to view the an enlarged version
The tour includes five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with an additional site that is likely to be inscribed in the summer 2021. It is possible to visit a further five World Heritage Sites in your own time at the end of the tour.
Geological guiding from James Cresswell
Transportation from destination to destination
Breakfast in the hotels
Entrance to all attractions except those visited on free time
Lunch and dinner
Transportation from Herefordback to London
carbon generated by this tour
= 0.353 Tonnes of C02
(calculated at https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx)
At no additional cost to you, GeoWorld Travel will offset the Carbon created by this tour using carbon offsetting company Carbon Footprint. A certificate for this offset will be supplied to you after the tour is completed.
It is your responsibility to book your travel to and from the start and finish of the tour, so if you would like to also carbon offset this cost please use our carbon offset calculator here.
Trip diaries, photo galleries and reviews of previous trips
This trip is new for 2021, there was no trip in 2020 due to COVID-19. It combines our previous England: Jurassic Coast and Cornish Tin Mines trip and our Wales: Castles and Dragons trip. Trip Diaries, Photo Galleries and Reviews of these two trips are shown below.
A DIARY of the Wales 2019 Trip
A day by day account of the trip with captioned photos, and includes some sites which are not featured on the current itinerary
ENGLAND - JURASSIC COAST AND CORNISH TIN MINES (2019)
"I joined the tour going through southwest England because of my novice interest in fossils and the Lyme Regis area. Boy did I learn alot! Our guide James geared trip locations and background information to fit into our existing framework of knowledge and physical capabilities. Exciting moments; climbing Haytor partway in blustery weather, hiking down into coves where the ocean swash rumbled the cobble shore, seeing ancient sites of rock lined avenues, following sauropod tracks across a quarry, experiencing life of a tin miner going to work, and touching rocks that were part of the Earth's mantle before being pushed up and over a continental plate. Because it is such a small group, we didn't experience lost time in gathering folks, and we were easily able to ask James questions, including "why are the roads so narrow", and "how often do you see hedgehogs?" What I will always remember is the absolutely beautiful land of southwest England, and the graciousness of all the people we met. James and Abby were extremely helpful in arranging my early departure to catch a boat; they were a pleasure to work with. I hope to join GeoWorld Travel for my trip to Iceland in 2020, since this year's is full. Don't delay, sign up early."
Margaret R., Texas, USA
Review was posted to TripAdvisor, May 2019
ENGLAND - JURASSIC COAST AND CORNISH TIN MINES (2019)
"This trip was a great pleasure to go on! James is a fun and knowledgeable guide, providing not only an interesting geological perspective, but a lot of local flavor as well. Geology is combined with stunning scenery, as well as a variety of activities such as fossiling, visiting caves, museums, and neolithic sites. We visited charming coastal towns, staying in some lovely bed and breakfasts. We enjoyed eating in the local pubs and tea rooms as well. This was our first trip to the UK. We found it to be a unique and personalized experience and a great value for the price."
Nancy C., Virginia, USA
Review was posted to TripAdvisor, May 2019
ENGLAND - JURASSIC COAST AND CORNISH TIN MINES (2017)
"Hi James. Barbara and I wish you at great new year. We want to thank you for a most interesting trip this spring to the English South coast. Interesting sites, good company and a lot of geology. Even the weather was nice! Best wishes"
Torsten H., Sønderborg, Denmark
ENGLAND - JURASSIC COAST AND CORNISH TIN MINES (2017)
"We got a good tour of the South West in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall and tried our luck as fossil hunters in Lyme Regis. James is a jovial and knowledgeable guide and he selects each destination for its geological relevance- which usually coincides with beautiful and unique landscapes. With just 4 of us on the tour, we got to have some interesting conversations and get to know each other. We found ourselves very tired at the end of each day, having seen several interesting places. Most of the places we visited were outdoors and we counted ourselves lucky that it didn't rain for the entire week of the tour.
Recommended for anyone who hasn't seen the South West or who has once wondered why landscapes look the way they do. If you have a particular interest in geology and/or fossils, this trip is made for you. Bring good shoes and prepare for the English weather!"
Barbara H., Antibes, France
Review was posted to TripAdvisor, April 2017
WALES - CASTLES AND DRAGONS (2013)
"A Tour of Wales in May 2013, with resident geoscientist James Cresswell, in our opinion rated 5 stars in all categories! It was a well-chosen blend of geology, history, culture, and scenery impossibly packed into seven days. Travel for our small group was by car on sealed roads and entirely satisfactory; accommodation was usually in mid-range hotels but included a superb B&B in Brecon Beacons National Park (Tara, Felindre). We could not have had a better leader: warm, cheerful, knowledgeable, attentive to our every wants and needs. Thank you, James! The range of geologic sights was amazing; surely something for everyone. Paleontology was the lead-off subject. On arrival evening we were picking up ammonites on the beach near our hotel, and the next day following a Mesozoic dinosaur trackway; in subsequent days searching out graptolites and trilobites (Wales hosts the Type Sections for the Cambrian, Ordovician, and Silurian ). A focus on economic geology? Visits to once world-famous but now mostly inactive coal, slate, gold, lead-silver mines and related industrial facilities (in the 19th C. Wales was unsurpassed in coal production). Structural geology and tectonics? Multi-stage structures splendidly exposed in sea cliffs; extraordinary coastal displays of melange; glauconite-rich blue schists from deep in the crust or upper mantle; pillow basalts; silicic ash-flow tuffs; and more. It was amazing to contemplate that we could walk terraine once ripped from what is now Newfoundland during the sundering of Gondwana! Interspersed with all this geological variety are relics of human activity dating from earliest times on: dimension stone destined for Stonehenge; steles; ancient crypts; even a rare "cranog" ; walls, forts, castles, priories, etc., testimony to vicissitudes of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman preeminence and strife. We found it impossible to absorb and digest everything on our plate on this all-too-brief tour but we expect it to provide sustenance for years to come! Hats off to GeoWorld!"
Dick B., California, USA
Review submitted via email, July 2013
WALES - CASTLES AND DRAGONS (2013)
"Our holiday was a fantastic tour-de-force through the geology, scenery, history and culture of Wales visiting 2 Geoparks, 3 National Parks and 2 World Heritage Sites - all in one week!"