Sixteen Bath Nats members were joined rather unexpectedly by sixteen Open University Geology Group members outside Saltford Post Office on a morning of hazy sunshine, posing quite a challenge for our leader, Simon Carpenter, to manage. After crossing the railway line we came to our first stop outside the toilet block adjacent to the riverside car park, which we were informed was constructed from local white lias (not white lies!). (Gryphaea) in situ. After a pub lunch, we walked to the most spectacular exposure of our visit, in a private garden, before returning to our starting point via church, manor house and war memorial.

We then climbed up to the old railway line that is now a cycle path and walked east, to our first main stopping point, where rocks overlying the ‘Cotham Marble’ had recently been exposed. We learned that the marble is a stromatolitic limestone, resulting from the growth of cyanobacteria, which has the appearance of a rural landscape in its cut and polished faces.

Here Simon also dispensed the contents of a bag of gritty material into our outstretched hands. Close examination revealed that this was full of shiny, reddish-purple fish teeth. We then walked back westwards to two larger exposures where we were able to see large ammonites and nautilus as well as ‘Devil’s Toenails’.

Fossil grit