Natural England - Wenlock Edge (SSSI)

Wenlock Edge (SSSI)

Location and Access Information
Grid Reference: SJ 440840 to SJ 620013

Wenlock Edge is a scarp of Silurian limestone which runs for over 30 kilometres from Craven Arms to Much Wenlock. The Scarp face of the edge can be well appreciate from the picnic site and car park at GR 479875 situated about 2.5 kilometres east of Westhope on a lane running along the southern slope of Wenlock Edge. There are also various footpaths running along the edge that can be accessed at various points. The viewpoint at SJ 573968 on the B4371 also provides access to rock exposures at Ippikin’s Rock (National Trust).

Geological Interest

Wenlock Edge is a prominent and well-known feature, and is of interest for its extensive exposures of rocks of the Wenlock Series (Silurian, 443-417 million years ago) and for the woodland, scrub and grassland that occur along the ridge.

The world famous Wenlock Limestone outcrops of Wenlock Edge rank amongst Britain’s most important geological sites. The quarries towards the northern end of the ridge provide the finest sections available in the shallow marine Wenlock Limestone, and demonstrate the best examples of reef development during the Silurian Period in Britain. The limestones contain a rich fossil fauna, and many fossil species, particularly of corals, brachiopods, trilobites and ostracods (microscopic crustaceans) were first described from specimens collected here. The middle part of the Silurian Period is named the Wenlock Series after this area and localities within this site constitute the best sections available in the upper part of the Wenlock Series.