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Newsletter - March 2009

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At a very well attended AGM on February 18th a few changes were made to the Council.

Nick Snowden and Kathleen Mais (the General and Minutes Secretaries) have resigned from their posts, due to the pressure of work, and were thanked for their service.

Dr Christine Arkwright was endorsed as this year’s President (she took over from Joe MacQuaker when he went to Canada last year).

Dr Tony Adams is to be our new Vice President: we give him a hearty welcome. Jane Michael is our new General Secretary, Marjorie Mosley is the new Field Secretary and Sue Plumb will take the Council minutes. Other posts are as before. The Council were all thanked for their efforts.

We welcome three new members to the Council : Lisa Abbott, James Jepson and Chantal Johnson.

After the business meeting Christine gave us a fascinating talk on her work on the Mam Tor landslip and recent developments there.

We have a splendid programme of outings for this season starting on Saturday 2nd May 2009, when we go to the Apedale Heritage Centre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, a museum and mine visit.

June takes us to Frodsham where Duncan Woodcock will show us the sandstones of Overton Hill.

In July we have an exciting day at Styal Mill. Details of the August and September trips will be in the June newsletter.

Please remember to book in with Marjorie for all our outings - 0161 432 4343 or email

Our Biennial Presidential Dinner is on 26th September this year at Styal Mill. Put the date in your diary now!

With best wishes for a successful outdoor season.......... see you on the rocks.......... soon!

Mary Howie newsletter editor

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President's Dinner

Dr Chris Arkwright, MGA President, invites everyone to the Biennial Presidential Dinner on 26th September this year at Quarry Bank Mill in Styal Country Park. She hopes you will decide to come, and bring family and friends.

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Greater Manchester RIGS Group

We held our Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 14th February and are pleased to welcome Chantal Johnson to the group.

On 16th February, Sue Plumb and I attended the North West Geodiversity Partnership meeting and workshop in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester. The workshop, led by Kathryn Riddington, was to help NWGP members to handle the UKRIGS data base efficiently and proved to be very useful.

Peter Longbottom, Head of the Local Nature Reserve, Park Bridge, asked GMRIGS to assess the physical condition of their geological sites with a view to their future management. On Tuesday, 19th February, Dr. Chris Arkwright, Chantal Johnson, Peter Longbottom, members of the Park Bridge staff, Alan Bamforth, Peter Bamforth and I spent an enjoyable and interesting day. Chantal showed us three very exciting sites at Fennyfield Bridge and one rather precarious one opposite Bright Mill – wellingtons essential! After lunch, we visited the Rocher Vale sites to assess them. Chantal and I would like to thank Chris for her kind support and the Park Bridge staff for their interest and enthusiasm.

Sue Plumb and I spent Monday 9th March at Healey Dell, Rochdale, accompanied by Stephen Taylor, a local resident, who kindly showed us three interesting new sites.

Work on the audit of sites for the local authorities is progressing well thanks to the cooperation of the Manchester Museum Staff.

Cheshire Region launched their Local Geodiversity Action Plan on Tuesday, 10th March, at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester and an enjoyable evening was had by everyone. A copy of Cheshire Region’s LGAP will be kept alongside GMRIGS’s documents in the Manchester Museum Resource Centre after Wednesday, 25th March. If you wish to read this interesting and informative document please contact

Marjorie E. Mosley, Secretary, Greater Manchester RIGS Group

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Away-day Geology in Shropshire

Bill Maddocks lets the train take the strain! He tells me that he gets the train to Church Stretton in the morning, has a pleasant pub lunch , and then walks up across the Long Mynd to the Stiperstones...... Great!!


They are well worth a visit if you’ve never been - Ordovician quartzite from the Arenig series, heavily frost shattered in the Quaternary and some fantastic views. They are accessible by road for the fainthearted. You can see more of Bill’s photos in colour on our Photo Gallery page.

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Styal Desert?

A special MGA day at Quarry Bank Mill, Sunday 19th July

We have teamed up with the National Trust at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Country Park, for a day of geological fun, frolics and fossils on Sunday 19th July. The theme for the day is the Styal Desert?, reflecting the arid, fluvial setting which the underlying geology tells us existed where the Park is now located. There will be an MGA gazebo in the main yard, furnished with appropriate displays of the local geology, activities to interest youngsters and lots of other things to promote geological interest for the public.

Central to the day is a series of six short walks, being lead by Fred Broadhurst and myself, around the newly renovated Secret Garden and a section of my Styal Country Park geology trail along the River Bollin. The walks, lasting about an hour, have easy access and are suitable for accompanied children. The NT will charge £3 for adults (children free) and will take bookings in advance to Jayne Gudgeon on tel: 01625 445845. For safety and access reasons a maximum of 20 persons/walk will be allowed.

Put the date in your diary now and tell all your friends about it – it’s at the start of the school holidays. It will be a great family day out.

Please help us make this new venture a huge success.

Volunteers needed!

Although we have a small organising group, on the day, we will really need assistance of other people. We are not asking folk to give up the whole day but just maybe a couple of hours. We need to cover from about 10.30 am to 5.00 pm and are looking for about a dozen helpers to man the display, answer queries and cover breaks. If you are interested and would like to get involved in this brilliant event, which will give the Association lots of publicity, please could you let Jane Michael know either by email ( or telephone 0161 366 0595 as soon as possible.

Thanks very much. Fred Owen

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Book review

One book I would definitely recommend is 'Mining Disasters in Tameside' by Norman Bamforth. The book is a culmination of years of research by Norman.

What I like about the book is the way the geology of the coal mines is linked with the human story of the men and children who worked there, in such terrible conditions. You'll find many an eye-opening story. It also reminds us how lucky we are and the sacrifice these men and children made towards helping our region’s industrial prosperity.

It would be great if such terrible working conditions were a thing of the past but around the world they continue. In 2002 I visited the silver / tin mines in Potosi, Bolivia. Boys of 12 were working there in dangerous conditions. Their fathers don't live far beyond 40, most dying from damaged lungs. The mines are owned by an Anglo-American company.

Norman is also a member of MGA. His research was invaluable when I was researching and writing the text for the Heritage Lottery funded exhibition on geology and coalmining at Park Bridge. Some of you may know him from his expert flora walks around Greater Manchester.

Norman and his brother Alan have put in years of voluntary work around our region. One of their favourite places is Werneth Low near Hyde. Norman is intrigued by the amount of spring water emerging from many locations around Werneth Low and would like to know if any of you could shed any light on the source of all this water. (any ideas?? ed)

As it happens my Granddad used to live on Werneth Low as a child, close to the village of Greave. Their water source was a well which never dried up in all the time his family lived there, even during very dry spells.

You can get a copy of the book from Norman Bamforth, 1 Cooperation Road, Audenshaw, Manchester, M34 5LY. The book costs £6 including postage.

Chantal Johnson

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Holiday Geology - Lanzarote

Ann Phillips has written a report about her holiday to Lanzarote

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Report on the Herdman Symposium

Sue Plumb has written a report about the Herdman Symposium

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