Book review: Carboniferous Geology: Bowland Fells to Pendle Hill, edited by Paul Kabrna

Jon Trevelyan (UK)

This is an odd little book. Produced by the Craven & Pendle Geological Society and edited by Paul Kabrna, it sets out to cover the geology of Craven Lowlands through a series of chapters written by different contributors. The authors claim that the area is probably somewhat ignored geologically, despite having large amounts of interesting and fossiliferous (mostly Lower) Carboniferous rocks. And, as much of this area is covered by the Forest of Bowland and the Forest of Pendle, which are both defined as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it therefore seems a great area for a geologically minded to go to for a holiday.

As you would expect, the book covers the general geology of the area, together with a chapter on the geological history of Pendle Hill. In addition, there are detailed descriptions of seven fieldtrips. Stephen Donovan (sometime contributor to this magazine) also writes about what seems to be his favourite subject – echinoderms – in particular, crinoids. This particular section includes excellent black and white photographs of fossils and, indeed the book contains many excellent such photographs, together with many lovely colour photographs to illustrate the text. This reminds me how much we need a book on Lower Carboniferous (Mississippian) UK fossils (Palass are you reading this?), as this is one of the few books that contains a resource for UK fossil identification from this geological period.

As I said, it is an odd little book. Because it consists of several chapters written by different contributors, it has a bit of a feeling of having been cobbled together. However, having said that, I had no problem reading it from cover to cover with interest and have now put the area on my list of places to visit. My only doubt about the field trips is that so many of them require permission to visit from the landowners. While it’s entirely responsible to point this out, it does make arrangements for any visit somewhat labour intensive.

At £9,50, I would recommend it if you are going to the area or, if like me, you just like reading about the geology of the British regions. An odd book, but a good one nevertheless.

Carboniferous Geology: Bowland Fells to Pendle Hill edited by Paul Kabrna, Craven & Pendle Geological Society, Leeds (2011). 186 pp., softback, ISBN: 978-0-9555289-1-0

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