Mines and Biodiversity
Abandoned mine workings are wonderful quiet dark places in which sensitive wildlife can find a place to hibernate during winter months when food is scarce. At depth below this viewing platform and running out to the north is a large underground mine gallery that has been specifically prepared for hibernating bats in winter months.
So far (in 2018) seven species of British bats have been recorded to be using this site making it one of the most important bat roosts in the Midlands.
View from Northern Gallery platform
As you can see the limestone here slope downwards into the ground. When the miners dug it out they left behind long empty mine galleries which trapped cold air in winter and had lots of rubble and rock piles lying on their floors which were perfect for bats to crawl into to hibernate during the winter.
Abandoned mines don’t stay open forever though and without engineering input will relax and collapse over time. So here at the Northern Gallery, Dudley engineers have stabilised the gallery underground and its narrow entrance to ensure that the protected bats have a long safe future in Dudley’s mines. Bats and limestone are not the only things to come out of the mines. The sculpture depicts the miners and the fossils that were found in the stone here which gave the opportunity for Sir Roderick Murchison to learn so much and feature so many fossils in his Book ‘The Silurian System’ in 1839. This book defined the Silurian Period of geological time and 65% of the Wenlock and Ludlow Series fossils featured in it are from Wrens Nest and Castle Hill in Dudley!
View north along trench
View northwards, from the platform, along the trench left by the extraction of Lower Quarried Limestone. On the western (left) side of the trench the rock outcrops are Nodular Member, with their dip down to in a westward direction visible.
Task Site 7 Questions
What is the name of the famous geologist who studies fossils here?
a) Sir David Attenborough
b) Charles Darwin
c) Brian Cox
d) Sir Roderick Murchison
Why did the limestone miners leave large pillars of rock in places when they mined underground?
a) To find their way around
b) Place to hang lights
c) Hold up the roof
d) Show off the geology