Do you want to take a step back in time to understand how local rocks were formed under tropical seas millions of years ago? Then take time out to visit the National Stone Centre near Wirksworth where you can walk around the ‘Geo-Trail’. And soon, thanks to a grant from Tarmac, visitors will find the trail much more accessible.
The National Stone Centre, an independent educational charity largely run by volunteers, has been awarded a grant of over £8,000 from the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund*. The grant will cover the costs of resurfacing a 500-metre uneven stretch of the 1km Trail; and installing enhanced signage. These improvements will make the Trail much more accessible for all visitors, but particularly those using wheelchairs or pushchairs; and will also increase safety for visitors.
National Stone Centre trustee and geology specialist, Peter Jones, said: “Our Geo-Trail is visited by schools, colleges, universities and general interest groups, as well as by families. 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.”
Sam Jackson, Tarmac’s powders plant manager at the nearby Ballidon Quarry, went along to the National Stone Centre to see for himself how the grant would be used. He adds: “Given a lot of Tarmac’s business starts with stone, it is very apt that we have been able to support the National Stone 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 Geo-Trail is currently used by a wide range of visitors including schools, special interest groups as well as by the general public. The Trail is self-guided and encompasses extraordinary geology which is internationally recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Visitors can wander through the millennia imagining warm topical seas, reefs, lagoons and a wide variety of marine creatures including corals, brachiopods and crinoids which ultimately formed the limestones seen today.
*The Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund (or Landfill Tax Credit Scheme as it was formerly known) enables landfill operators like Tarmac, to donate part of their annual tax liability to enrolled Environmental Bodies for a variety of approved community and environmental projects. Landfill operators can reclaim 90% of their contribution as a tax credit which means the remaining 10% must be provided either by them or an independent third party. Through the fund Tarmac donates around £1 million each year to community projects throughout the UK. The fund is open to applicants who meet the strict criteria for projects delivering community benefit. For more information, please go to www.entrust.org.uk
Picture caption: Peter Jones, National Stone Centre trustee and geology specialist (left) meets Sam Jackson, Tarmac’s powders plant manager at Ballidon Quarry (right) at the Geo-Trail to see how the Tarmac grant will be spent.