Salthill Quarry, Clitheroe: A resource degraded

Stephen K Donovan (The Netherlands) The Mississippian (Lower Carboniferous) is often referred to as the ‘Age of Crinoids’. Historically, the best collecting area for fossil crinoids in the Carboniferous Limestone of the British Isles has been Clitheroe, in Lancashire. The late Stanley Westhead, who lived in Clitheroe, rightly claimed that: “… nowhere else in England have Carboniferous crinoids been found in such large numbers and also in such variety of genera and species” (Westhead, 1979, p. 465). Indeed, it is probably the best area to collect fossil crinoids of any age in England. Although there may be more species known from the Silurian (Wenlock) of the Dudley area in the West Midlands, since the quarries there ceased operation in the 1920s, crinoid crowns have been difficult to find. In contrast, I have just spent an enjoyable week in August 2010 collecting thecae and other crinoid fragments at Clitheroe. There are three notable crinoid localities in the Clitheroe area, namely Bellmanpark, Coplow and Salthill quarries (Wright, 1950-1960; Donovan, 1992a). Bellmanpark (currently active) and Coplow (disused) quarries are not accessible to the public. Salthill Quarry (Grayson, 1981; Bowden et al., 1997) is a nature reserve managed by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside. It exists around an industrial estate and is freely accessible. Fig. 1. The crinoid bank (locality 6 of Bowden et al., 1997) as it is today, largely obscured by grass. Collectors (left and middle) approximately define the exposure of bedded limestone, which extends a little way … Read More

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