Stones & Scenery in the Marches Landscape

Ref: C3127122

Old Red Sandstone is the typical stone of much of the Marches and features in Hereford cathedral, local castles and other public buildings but, given the wide variety of rock types in the area, Silurian limestones, Precambrian igneous rocks, Bromsgrove sandstone and calcareous tufa, the favourite stone of the Normans, are also commonly seen. We will explore both the geological and historical contexts of the local use of building stone on this study day and hope to combine it with an optional field excursion later in the year to examine the wide variety of stone and architectural styles seen in local buildings.

Course aim

To provide both a geological and historical background to the use of the varied building stones seen within churches, castles and other buildings in both urban and rural settings in the Welsh Marches.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the key differences between various stone types including their susceptibility to weathering;
  • Appreciate that historical stone usage was controlled by the availability of suitable transport;
  • Appreciate that stone usage was also cultural in its selection in that certain stones were much favoured at certain times;
  • Understand that certain building styles demanded different types of stone.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Examples of local building stones in both their natural and cut states will be available for classroom study.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • Examples of local and more distantly sourced building stones will form part of various classroom exercises.

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • A notepad and pencil/biro would be useful - participants are also encouraged to bring along any rock specimens for examination by the tutor and the rest of the class.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • The tutor will bring certain key texts to the class - these are available for inspection on the day.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Local societies such as the Woolhope Club offer regular monthly meetings and field excursions which can involves the identification of locally and/or more distantly sourced building stones. The tutor will provide further details.

Download full course information sheet

Stones & Scenery in the Marches Landscape


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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