Excursions around Bristol

Bristol Geology


Geology needs rocks! And Bristol has many places to look at rocks AND many different rocks to look at!


Indeed the first (1912) excursion guide to the Bristol District (by S. H. Reynolds, the third professor of geology at the university) said "Owing to the remarkably varied character of its rocks, the Bristol district seems specially marked out for a geological handbook."


Reynolds' guide was superseded, in 1977, by "Geological Excursions in the Bristol District" edited by Professor R. J. G. Savage (ISBN 0 901239 22 4), and it is this which I make use of on this web site. It is unlikely that the present Department of Earth Sciences will produce an up to date version of this guide, but fortunately it is a very good guide and I do not think that there is anything "wrong" in it. Much may be out of date, and interpretations be different, but the rocks are the same as in 1977, and will be for the next few millennia.


The guide was published by the University, but the University is no longer a publisher. Most of the contributors are no longer with us, and a source in the Department was not able to suggest anyone to approach for permission to use the contents of the book. If any interested party objects to things I extract, I will, of course, remove it from this site.


Each chapter is in PDF format and can be downloaded. It can be opened with Adobe Reader which you probably have already, but if not can be obtained, free, from HERE.


(As a reminder to myself the export settings from InDesign are File then Adobe PDF Presets then [High Quality Print}. Select where it is to be saved and a file name. In the dialogue box use the default settings BUT make sure that under Pages the Range is set to All Pages and the Pages radio button is selected. Under Options ensure that the Embed Page Thumbnails box is ticked. Then press Export. To make a smaller download for readers, from Adobe Acrobat  click File then Save as Other then Reduced Size PDF)


You can print out the PDF file on an A4 duplex (double sided) printer using Adobe Reader.


  • Click File then Print.
  • In the dialogue box which appears, select your printer and how many copies you want,
  • for Pages to Print select All ,
  • for Page Sizing and Handling select Booklet,
  • for Booklet subset select Both sides,
  • Binding should be selected as Left,
  • Orientation should be Portrait and
  • leave Auto-rotate pages within each sheet Unselected.
  • Then click on Print!


These seem to be the only settings which give a correctly printed booklet - it took the writer much experimentation and wasted paper to find these settings!


I believe you can print a booklet using a printer which prints on one side of the paper at a time but you need to turn the paper by hand for this. I will allow you to work out the details of this for yourselves!


Because some information is lost when the chapter contents are scanned and converted into text and the figures coloured, I have included the original scans. So if you think I have got something wrong you can look at the original and correct my silly mistakes. So for each chapter there are two links. The first gives you my version of the chapter, the second, the material from which I worked.
























Chapter 1 - The southern Malvern Hills by J. W. Cowie and D. L. Speedyman

Chapter 2 - The Quantock and Brendon Hills, West Somerset and North Devon by D. L. Dineley

Chapter 3 - The sedimentology and structure of the Upper Palaeozoic rocks at Portishead by B.P.J. Williams and P. L. Hancock

Chapter 6 - Limestone features and the geomorphological evolution of the Mendip Hills by D. Ingle Smith

Chapter 4 - Volcanic rocks of the Bristol region by D. L. Speedyman

Chapter 5 - The Carboniferous Limestone of the Mendip Hills by R. J. G. Savage

Chapter 8 - The geology of Cattybrook brick pit, Almondsbury by P. L. Hancock and B.P.J. Williams

Chapter 9 - The Mesozoic strata of the Mendip Hills by R. J. G. Savage

Chapter 12 - Jurassic rocks of the Bath area by A. B. Hawkins

Chapter 10 - Coastal exposures near Blue Anchor, Watchet and St. Audrie's Bay, North Somerset by D. Hamilton and A. Whittaker

Chapter 11 - Aust Cliff by D. Hamilton

Chapter 14 - The south and mid Cotswolds by J. W. Murray and P. L. Hancock

Chapter 13 - William Smith localities by R. Bradshaw

Chapter 15 - Westbury and Northern Wiltshire by A. N. Insole and C. A. Wright

Chapter 16 - The Quaternary of the North Somerset area by A. B. Hawkins

Chapter 7 - Fossil plants from the Somerset coalfield by K. C. Allen

Other Excursions