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The Geology of Wheeldon Trees
Around 330 million years ago, Wheeldon Trees (and the rest of the British Isles) would have been at the equator… We were surrounded by tropical seas, and the Peak District would have been just like the Caribbean is today!
Fringing Dovedale were reefs and just beyond Chelmorton was an active volcano; its lava flow almost reaching to Brierlow Bar.
Then, as far east as Lincolnshire, was mile after mile of turquoise coloured shallow lagoons, with little patch reefs – and probably the occasional basking shark..
As time went on, great thicknesses of animal remains built up, which then set like concrete to form limestone. Major earth movements folded and fractured the rocks. Massive amounts of other rocks piled on top, only to be eroded away, leaving behind the shapes of this ancient seascape.
Today, the sharp pointed peak of High Wheeldon, together with Parkhouse and Chrome Hill to the west, stands out as remains of this ancient “apron’ reef. The Packhorse Inn at Crowdecote lies on the muddy floor of the deep sea “Staffordshire Gulf’, and the wide open countryside towards Monyash and Bakewell is formed by shells of sea animals that thrived in the shallow, warm waters of the tropical sea.
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