Field Trip: William Smith - Coal and Canal Surveyor

Leader: Andrew Mathieson

Entry Fee

Members: Free

Visitors: £3.00

Date and Time



Bristol Road, Three Tunnys, Paulton, BS39 7NR

Field Trip Description

This walk takes in some of the main sites associated with William Smith’s work, first as a land surveyor and then for the Somersetshire Coal Canal Co., which helped him realise his crucial discovery that fossils can be used to recognise different strata. It includes Rugbourne House, where Smith lodged when he first came to Somerset in 1791 (and which he himself later called “The Birthplace of Geology”), the Mearns coal pit, which he investigated in detail, the remains of several other coal batches and their horse-drawn railways, and part of the course of the canal. We will look at the conservation of some of these sites as well as the effects of the local geology on the landscape.

The walk is about 5 miles long, in the upper Cam Brook valley east of High Littleton. It mostly follows footpaths and will end at about 4.00 p.m. Waterproofs and walking boots are advisable. Lunch (bar snacks) are available at the Seven Stars in Timsbury for those who so wish (see booking form) or bring your own. Meet at 10.30 at the Wessex Water works at Goosard Bridge, between High Littleton and Paulton (use of their car park by kind permission). Grid Ref ST 655 575.

Location Map

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