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73. Geology of the South Devon Coast (2017)


by John Cope

This area presents an ideal introduction to fieldwork for students of geology. There is a wide range of geological features that are su­perbly displayed in rocks varying in age from Devonian through to Palaeogene, together with often spectacular structures and a wide range of sedimentary rock types. There is also a good variety of igneous rocks in the area. The Guide covers the coast between Brixham in the west to the county boundary with Dorset, encompassed by the English Riviera Geopark and the western end of the World Heritage coastline. Some inland areas around Dartmoor are also described.

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Table of Contents

Overview of Itineraries


Table of Contents


PREFACE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
LIST OF FIGURES

1 INTRODUCTION

2 SOUTH DEVON IN A REGIONAL CONTEXT

3 THE SUCCESSION IN SOUTH DEVON

Devonian
Carboniferous
The Dartmoor granite
Permian
Triassic
Jurassic
Cretaceous
Palaeogene
Pleistocene

4 ITINERARIES

The Torquay area
The Brixham area
The Permian succession between Torquay and Dawlish Warren
Permian and Triassic succession east of the River Exe
Triassic and Cretaceous from Branscombe to Culverhole Point
Inland localities

5 REFERENCES

INDEX


Itineraries
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This area presents an ideal introduction to fieldwork for students of geology. There is a wide range of geological features that are su­perbly displayed in rocks varying in age from Devonian through to Palaeogene, together with often spectacular structures and a wide range of sedimentary rock types. There is also a good variety of igneous rocks in the area. The Guide covers the coast between Brixham in the west to the county boundary with Dorset, encompassed by the English Riviera Geopark and the western end of the World Heritage coastline. Some inland areas around Dartmoor are also described.

Itinerary 1 The Torquay Area
This itinerary arranges localities to show the Devonian succession in ascending order around the Torquay area. Most localities are accessible at high tide although separate descents might be required to reach them.
Start point Pay & Display car park at Meadfoot Beach SX 929 630

Itinerary 2 The Brixham Area
Approach roads to the starting point are very narrow and coach parties are recommended to access the SW coastal path immediately behind the Berry Head Hotel.
Start point Berry Head National Nature Reserve Car Park SX 941 561 (pay on exit)

Itinerary 3 The Permian Succession between Torquay and Dawlish Warren
Localities are several kilometres apart making this section best tackled by coach or car. Pay and display parking is available at or close to each locality.
Start point Roundham Head pay & display car park SX 896 602

Itinerary 4 Permian and Triassic Succession East of the River Exe
Again localities are several kilometres apart making this section best tackled by coach or car. East Devon District Council issues weekly parking permits which are valid at any of the council’s car parks and these may be a money saving option if wanting to spend much time at these localities. However there is no parking close to the start or end localities of this section and these are best accessed by car due to the very narrow roads.
Start point Estuary Cliffs, Lympstone (SX 988 837), finding parking in the village itself.

Itinerary 5 Triassic and Cretaceous from Branscombe to Culverhole Point
The starting localities of this section can be accessed from Beer where parking is covered by the East Devon Council parking permit scheme. The Axmouth to Lyme Regis section is a challenging 9 km and should only be completed in its entirety with low tide around the middle of the day. However the western section, as far as Culverhole Point (SY 277 893), is well worth visiting.
Start point Branscombe Mouth (SY 207 882) where to privately owned car park is best avoided due to punitive charges for overstaying the prepaid time period.

Itinerary 6 Inland localities
Although the emphasis in this Guide is on the coast and its immediate hinterland, there are some features which are not available on the coast and a week-long field trip to south Devon should include, some at least, of the localities described here.
Start point various, refer to Guide for details

Map of Itineraries