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Norton Covert

Norton covert is a former sand and gravel pit worked for building sand and aggregate during the 19th century. It is evident that extraction began at the northern end adjacent to the burial ground around two hundred years ago and progressively worked southwards in phases. Being worked in phases has allowed the covert to regenerate in phases and develop a varied structure with trees of varying age. today the site is owned and managed by Dudley Council and is a designated Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) for geology and also a Wildlife Consultation Area within Green Belt. So all visitors are urged to enjoy their visit but to have regard for the fragile environment of the Covert.

The Ancient Past
The geology of Norton Covert is a story of scorching deserts and icy wastes. There are two distinct rock formations present. The underlying bed rock (country rock) is a red-orange, fine to medium grained sandstone with occasional thin mudstone beds belonging to the Windmoor Sandstone Formation (formerly known as the Upper Mottled Sandstone) which was deposited in the scorching deserts of Triassic age (circa 220 million years ago). The sand grains are mainly white quartz coloured red by a thin veneer of iron oxide (rust).

Lying on top of the Wildmoor Formation is a superficial capping of soft sands and gravels which were deposited in the Ice-age (glacial period) about 20,000 - 25,000 years ago. Unformtunately the Wildmoor formation is now buried beneath overburden which has accumulated around the perimeter, so is no longer exposed at norton Covert. Small but very important exposures of the Ice-age sands and gravel remain in the southern rim of the Covert. Here, thin layers (laminae) of coarse med-brown and buff sands with thicker pebbly sands can be seen. The ground surface at the southern end of the covert is still undisturbed and shows abundant pebbles.

Photos of Norton Covert

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