Tarmac grant paves the way to improve geology trail at National Stone Centre in Wirksworth

The National Stone Centre in Wirksworth has received a grant of more than £8,000 which will pave the way for a revamped education trail.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 12:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 12:42 pm

The charity which maintains the site has been awarded money from the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund to resurface an uneven 500-metre stretch of the one kilometre Geo-Trail, and install enhanced signage.

The improvements will make the Trail much more accessible and safe for all visitors, but particularly those using wheelchairs or pushchairs.

Trustee Peter Jones said: “Our Geo-Trail is visited by schools, colleges, universities and general interest groups, as well as by families.

National Stone Centre trustee Peter Jones, left, on the trail with Sam Jackson from Tarmac's Ballidon quarry.

“Many come to see the spectacular Millennium Wall which showcases different drystone walling styles from throughout the British Isles. The greatly improved accessibility will allow us to welcome many more visitors to the site.”

The trail is a self-guided tour which showcases the extraordinary geology of the centre’s landscape – which is internationally recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Visitors can wander through millennia, imagining the topical seas, reefs, lagoons and a wide variety of marine creatures including corals, brachiopods and crinoids which ultimately formed the limestones seen today.

Sam Jackson, Tarmac’s powders plant manager at the nearby Ballidon quarry, recently walked the trail to see for himself how the grant would be used.

He said: “Given a lot of Tarmac’s business starts with stone, it is very apt that we have been able to support the centre through the Landfill Communities Fund.

“The Geo-Trail is a fascinating trip through the history of geology in the area with the story presented in a very accessible way through leaflets and boards. We are really pleased that this grant will enable even more people to be able to enjoy the trail.”

The National Stone Centre occupies a 40-acre complex of six former limestone quarries and works to engage the public in learning about the origin, industry and the history of stone.

It merged with the Institute of Quarrying earlier this year, and the new joint organisation has been laying out plans to transform the site into a world-class visitor destination.

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