The first outdoor evening meet of 2016 took place on Thursday 5th May with a guided walk around Wren’s Nest Dudley. Bob Duncan kindly offered his services and had prepared a route prior to the event taking place.
Over 400 million years ago, the area where Dudley now stands was covered by coral reefs and tropical seas providing an environment for the famous fossils we find there today. Over 700 types of fossil are known to have come from Wren's Nest. 186 of which were first discovered and described here and 86 are found nowhere else on Earth.
Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve is a classic geological site of exceptional importance.
It is one of the most notable geological locations in the British Isles and visited and studied by geologists from all over the world.
The evening started by meeting at the Park Inn Woodsetton which is in fact a vibrant suburban brewery tap, held by the Holden family since 1915. Radiating out from the spacious main bar are a small games room, raised dining area and a separate conservatory. Functions are catered for and reasonably priced food is served 12-8pm (4:30 Sun). The pub adjoins the brewery which has been extended and refurbished over the previous year. Anyone wishing to attend the new brewery centre is on the right of the car park.
I was the first to arrive at the pub, some regulars were inside and out due to the weather being perfect for a late evening walk. I had spoken with the landlady via e-mail some days prior due to submitting meal orders for the event, she was very welcoming to have WBMC present.
We started the walk just after 18:30 hours, Bob had kindly submitted maps and an information guide for everyone, along the walk there are information signs as you walk around the site and by looking at the guide it gives you information at what stage of the walk you are at.
On some of the higher rock formations there is limestone debris & erosion, protected areas around the Seven Sisters caverns had to be filled in after a major roof collapse and mine cave-in occurred in 2001, to prevent further collapse. More recent work had also began on infilling the huge Cathedral Gallery with loose sand. The former limestone mine and adjacent vast underground canal basin, which leads to a now blocked off passage to Dudley Tunnel, contain some of what local historians claimed to be some of the world's most important geology and mining heritage.
The group consisting of 27 people & 2 dogs (yes this was a great number for our first outdoor meet) started to gain a little height and there was great views stretching vastly across the Black Country and you could see as far as the post office Tower in Birmingham, and I pointed out another heritage Centre to Mike Smith (The Hawthorns) :)
Some of the caves around the site are home to various species of bats, one of the members heard a distinctive bird call on route and they mentioned that it was the call of a Green Woodpecker.
Bob Duncan had suggested that the walk would take just over one hour, right on cue we arrived back at the Park Inn just before 20.00 hours, this was perfect timing because the landlady had specifically stated that we must be back for this time.
Food was very reasonably priced, and for the members that had taken the time to e-mail me their order, pre-ordered food came out first.I opted for the Holden’s Steak & Ale Pie which was very well priced at £4.75 followed by chocolate fudge cake and custard.
Speaking to attendees after the event it seemed that everyone was happy with the food, and I have contacted the landlady and thanked them for making WBMC very welcome. If anyone is in the area and would like a local walk, this site is well worth visiting.
Thank you to everyone that attended and we look forward to seeing you on further meets, also a special thanks to Bob Duncan for leading the walk and taking the time to print maps and guide books.