Wren’s Nest Voyage in Deeptime

Explore the fossil rich rocks formed in warm Silurian seas when the Dudley area was 30 degrees south of the equator.

The Wren’s Nest is internationally renowned for superbly preserved fossils of marine creatures that lived in an environment similar to that of the Great Barrier Reef of the present time.

You will also see the extent of the quarrying of limestone that occurred here in the heartland of the Industrial Revolution.

The Voyage takes place on well marked level (mainly gravelled) paths, with some flights of wooden steps. The Voyage is 1.6km (1 mile) long.

The map shows the Voyage route as a red line with the dark blue numbered boxes indicating ‘task sites’. These are places where one or more images and text (plus other media in some cases)  are available to explain the landscape, rocks and other interesting features. There will also be task questions associated with these sites. You can view the content for the task sites using the links below.

The blue dotted route corresponds to the Geo Trail featured in the printed leaflet for the Wren’s Nest.

The colour overlay on the map and aerial image, depicts the different rocks of the Wren’s Nest and the surrounding area. Touching these different colours on the map running in the Voyager app, will display the name of the rock, provide images of how the environment may have looked when that rock was forming, the life forms that existed and environmental audio. As much of that content as possible is replicated in the following.

Links to Task Sites for the Wren’s Nest Voyage

1 Snake Pit
2 NCC Cutting
3 Roots Valley
4 Central Plateau
5 Murchison’s View
6 Seven Sisters
7 Northern Gallery
8 Quarry View
9 Reef Mound
10 Ripple Beds
11 Gashes and Burrows


Silurian Earth – arrangement of continents and oceans around the time the rocks of the Wren’s Nest formed.

The following links are to environmental reconstructions, life forms, atmospheric composition, day length, top predators, climate and other facts relating to the  times when the various rock units of the Wren’s Nest were forming. Starting with the youngest rocks.

All the Carboniferous rocks are grouped together as they are not the main focus of this Voyage.
Lower and Middle Pennine Coal Measures
Around 310 million years old
Environment | From above | Lifeforms | Other information

Lower Elton Formation  (old name Lower Ludlow Shales)
Around 426 million years old
Environment | Tectonic setting | Lifeforms | Other information

Upper Quarried Limestone Member
Around 427.8 million years old
Environment | Tectonic setting | Weather forecast | Lifeforms | Other information

Nodular Limestone Member
Around 428 million years old
Environment |  Tectonic setting | Weather forecast | Lifeforms | Other information

Lower Quarried Limestone Member
Around 429 million years old
Environment | Tectonic setting | Weather forecast | Lifeforms | Other information

Coalbrookdale Formation (old name Wenlock Shales)
Around 432 million years old
Environment | Tectonic setting | Other information


The Upper Quarried Limestone Member, Nodular Limestone Member and Lower Quarried Limestone Member are collectively called the Much Wenlock Limestone Formation and along with the Coalbrookdale Formation form the Wenlock Series. The Lower Elton Formation is placed in the Ludlow Series.