The Coast of the Bristol Region: Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology


Geologists’ Association Guide No 71

By David Case

The 71st GA guide is not really my area (I prefer palaeontology) and it covers quite a specialist subject, but it is definitely interesting. And this is surely the point of GA guides – to cover topics that other publishers might be reluctant to consider.

The coastline of the Bristol region has a cornucopia of examples of geology, geomorphology and the geological effects of human habitation, and these are the subjects of this beautifully illustrated and written guide. Covering also the Somerset Levels and Moors, the region provides a record of climate and sea-level change, and the presence of humans since the Neolithic, and all of these are covered by this guide.

The book provides five itineraries between Oldbury Flats, to the northeast of the First Severn Road Bridge, and Lilstock, to the west of Burnham-on-Sea. These include: discussions on Pleistocene glaciation and Holocene sea-level rises in the Gorano Valley; Late Quaternary geology and geomorphology of the Middle Hope headland and Sand Bay; and Holocene coastal change at Burnham-on-Sea and the Lilstock to Stert coastlines.

As with all GA guides, it is beautifully illustrated by full colour diagrams and photographs of the relevant areas, and the text goes into great detail explaining the significance of what can be seen and explored. Perhaps most suitable for the undergraduate or graduate student, it is also likely to be of interest to anybody with a fascination about the interaction of geology and landscape.

Author, David Cope, is currently associate head (Civil Engineering) in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of the West of England, in Bristol. His background is in geology and geomorphology and he has specialised in Quaternary sediments and landforms (especially in Wales). Therefore, he is ideally suited to explain the science of the Bristol Wales coastline.

The excursions are well planned and do not require visitors to venture out onto mudflats or under unstable cliffs. A few require some walking, but these are clearly indicated. Therefore, I would recommend it for anybody with an interest in these subjects, and a desire to get outside, and understand and enjoy a beautiful environment.

The Coast of the Bristol Region: Quaternary Geology and Geology, by David J Case, Guide No 71, London (2013), 152 pages (paperback), ISBN: 978-09-00717-66-6

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