Long Mynd Wrought By 600 Million Years Of Earth Change


This sheep is posing on some of the world’s most ancient rocks, layers of mud-stones, sand-stones and shales laid down when this incipient Shropshire Hill was still lying in shallow seas somewhere in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. This was followed by much shunting and shifting across the planet, tectonic plates smashing and colliding.

Our most local collision was along the Church Stretton Valley, just over Wenlock Edge, some twelve miles from where we live. To the east of it (some 600 million years ago) volcanic ash and lava formed our well loved hills of Wrekin, Lawley, Caer Caradoc and Ragleth. To the west lay the sedimentary formations of Long Mynd, which around 550 million years ago were folded and thrust upwards along the Church Stretton Fault.

Then in recent times (2.4 million to 20,000 years ago) glaciers slipped and slid along the  Mynd’s flanks, although the summit was clear of ice. And then during successive interglacial (warming) periods (300,00-15,000 years ago) melting ice fed stream torrents that cut deep valleys and batches…




Ashes Hollow, one of the Mynd’s stream-cut batches


And so it might be timely to ponder on the momentous natural forces that brought about the formation of this single Shropshire hill – begun in tropical seas half a world away, then wrought by collision, compression, ice and melt-water. And all achieved without the meddling of humanity and on a planet that is endlessly reshaping itself.


View from the Long Mynd’s Carding Mill Valley towards Ragleth Hill



Looking east from the Long Mynd towards the Wrekin


Lens-Artists: Earth Story    Please visit Amy to see her very stunning Earth Story photos.

48 thoughts on “Long Mynd Wrought By 600 Million Years Of Earth Change

  1. A marvellous take on the challenge. You’ve emphasised something I always find about Shropshire – somehow it does seem strongly in touch with its ancient past, in a way that the South Downs, say, simply doesn’t.

  2. Marvelous photos of ancient rocks, majestic mountains, valley, river… all are tell great stories of our earth.
    Thank you, Tish, for sharing with us.

    1. Thanks, Thom. Here’s hoping that Shropshire’s tendency towards vulcanicity is long gone. We have had the odd small earthquake of the chimney toppling sort, though not lately.

    1. There’s a lot of about I gather. Even in the Arctic and Antarctica. We tend to forget there are massive volcanic entities in our oceans as well as on land. We also tend forget that our earth has a very boiling hot heart.

    1. I seem to recall reading that it’s already done a bit of shifting, Beverly. But yes, it would be good to have a better grasp of how our lands and continents formed.

  3. A wonderful response to the challenge Tish – truly explored the momentous changes over the centuries of Mother Earth. It’s amazing how it’s changed and reshaped itself thru the millennia. You captured it perfectly from your own corner of the world!

  4. That sheep is posing beautifully to introduce your fascinating post! I never knew that the origins of the Shropshire hills were so far away on the other side of the world – that’s an amazing fact to absorb even on its own, without the rest of their story which you tell so clearly. Great photos too – I especially like the one of Ashes Hollow, with those rich autumn hues 🙂

    1. Thanks for all those kind words, Sarah. That parts of Britain (Wenlock Edge included) were once lying somewhere off the Comoros Islands is indeed mind boggling. And yes, Ashes Hollow. It’s a special place, whatever the season.

  5. To an American, Shropshire is rich in history: human history. But the geological history and the fossil record is the big story – and you’re rich there too. Beautiful, informative photos of course.

    1. Many thanks, Stephen. I’m thinking geology is a vast unexplored ‘realm’ for most of us. We rarely consider the ground beneath our feet, unless of course we happen to live in an earthquake zone or have a volcano for a neighbour.

      1. Of course living in LA – and I live next to the La Brea Tar Pits – tectonic forces are not to be ignored. It’s on my mind all the time!

      2. Interesting their strapline is ‘gateway back to the Ice Age’. I think we all tend to think that ice ages are behind us…(?) Fascinating place to have on your doorstep though.

  6. Very much enjoyed your post Tish so interesting! I look at the hills here and the valley were our town lies in and I often wonder at how all this was formed in the past. It is fascinating! Your beautiful photos help to tell illustrate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.