By some series of terrestrial incidents, the rock types to be found in the parish of Martley, and in particular at one small site, enable an examination of samples from different periods probably without equal in the country. The Teme Valley Geological Society is based in Martley, Worcestershire, in the valley of the River Teme. The Teme is the longest tributary of Great Britain’s longest river, the Severn. It rises on the Kerry Hills, Powys, Wales and flows, often tumultuously for over 80 miles through wild and lonely countryside to its confluence with the Severn, a mile or so south and downstream of Worcester. As this is a web site devoted to geology that will of course be its theme, but for those of you who have not visited this region please do. We could just as easily have created a resource focussing on the wonderful walking that this hilly, wooded, border landscape offers, or on the fifty Norman churches that dot what is surely one of England’s most picturesque valleys. Perhaps the wide swathes of cherry, damson, hawthorn and apple blossom are reason enough to visit or maybe Shelsley Walsh, the world’s oldest continuously run motor car competition. Come to see this uniquely sited hill climb with delightful Norman church from Tufa rock and recently restored and working water mill. But this site is about geology and the largest deposits of tufa or travertine rock in England are one of the many attractions, bringing us back to our main theme.
The Teme in its short journey, cuts through a most unusual and fascinating assemblage of geological features, providing exposures of at least eight periods. These stretch over 700 million years, from the time when the land mass lay far south of the equator, brought by continental drift to its current location. Humankind’s use of rocks in buildings, road surfacing, agriculture, for example, allows us now to research these often ancient quarries and learn at first hand how our very way of being is utterly influenced by what lies beneath our feet.
In an audit of geological sites, around 40 were found in the parish and assessed Some of these are accessible from rights of way, others only by arrangement, Not all of the 40 are worth seeing but our local trails and guided walks allow the visitor to explore the best and most representative of them. Please come and enjoy!
Martley village lies about 8 miles west of Worcester at a point of major geological and landscape change, from the flat Worcestershire plain, to a narrow ridge of steep hills.
The rocks underlying the Worcestershire plain with an age of around 250 million years are geologically ‘young’. Going eastward you meet Jurassic and progressively younger rocks. In contrast to the west of Martley the rocks belong to a much older geological history of Britain – the rocks of Devonian, Silurian, Cambrian and older times. Martley sits on this junction of ‘old’ and ‘younger’ Britain.
St Peter’s Martley, a Norman church built of Triassic sandstone (Helsby Sandstone Formation) a sandstone found widely in many areas of the ‘younger’ Britain parts of the West Midlands. Internally the church has magnificent medieval wall paintings.