Coplow Quarry, Clitheroe

© Craven & Pendle Geological Society

Coplow Quarry

View Grid Reference [SD 7505 4320]

Permission to enter Coplow Quarry must be obtained from Castle Cement, Clitheroe. As Castle Cement is currently infilling the quarry, the prolific collecting areas are probably no more! There are plans for the preservation of part of the quarry for further scientific study.

Coplow Quarry is the lowest Waulsortian limestoneunit in the Clitheroe Limestone Formation. Flank Facies are exposed at the entrance to the quarry and are excellent beds to collect crinoids from. The limestone here is pale in colour and wad deposited in a high energy environment. The common crinoid is Actinocrinus coplowensis.

On the north face of the quarry Lower Coplow Shales are exposed. They are typically calcareous shales that alternate with black bituminous limestones and have been interpreted as low energy inter-bank facies by Miller & Grayson (1972). This part of the quarry is the most prolific collecting area for crinoid calyx's and associated faunas. Common genera include Actinocrinites, Amphoracrinus and Platycrinites.

Recently renovated Black Horse Pub by Coplow Quarry

Corals include Amplexus and small zaphrentids. Bryozoans such as Fenestella are common also. Brachiopods include Spirifer, Pugnax and Camarotoechia. Finally gastropods are also prolific and include Euomphalus and the curious Platyceras.

As a student, whilst doing my Crewe & Alsager College final year field work project, I use to visit the Black Horse for lunch. In those days the price was right and the beer good. Today (30 August 2004), the Black Horse has been tastefully renovated and now does good food as well. It's quiet location near Castle Cement Works on Pimlico Road mean that it is unlikely to attract too many tourists! If you are in the Clitheroe area and are in need of refreshment I would recommend this small, friendly pub wholeheartedly!

Entrance to Coplow

Grid Ref:  [SD 7505 4320]

This is the entrance to Coplow Quarry.  The central part of the quarry contains an enormous amount of waste material.  Having said that, there is a concerted effort underway to preserve the classical geological heritage of this quarry, especially as it has yielded a phenomenal number of crinoid genera and species.

A geology walk is currently being put together with a view to opening up the quarry for visitors.

Waulsortian Mounds
Grid Reference [SD 7505 4320]

To the right of the photograph you can see a classic section section through the Coplow bank beds (the core of a Waulsortion Mudmound).  The limestone here is typically grey, poorly-bedded or unbedded and contains curious cavities with smooth irregular roofs and geopetal infillings of calcilutite.  These features are commonly referred to as Stromatactis (Bathurst, 1959) being specifically associated with bank beds in the Clitheroe area.

Also notice the the lighter coloured flank facies draping over the bank beds.  These limestones are commonly pale to pale-grey and contain more crinoid debris than the ban beds.  These limestones are well bedded and appear to have been deposited in a higher energy regime as indicated by current-bedding and a greater content of clastic material.

Typical fossils associated with these Bank Beds are brachipods, gastropods and bryozoans.  Although corals are generally rare, there seems to be an abundance of Amplexus coralloides.

Collecting Crinoids
Grid Reference [SD 7505 4320]

This is the famous NW section of Coplow Quarry that has attracted the interest of fossil collectors for many years. As well as collecting crinoids, other important faunas are commonly found here such as corals, gastropods, and trilobites. The position where the geologists' are standing is about half way up the quarry face.  This indicates just how much of the quarry has been filled in by Castle Cement. Fortunately some of the key faces in the quarry are being made available for future study.

Crinoidal Limestone

This rock sample is Chadian crinoidal limestone collected from Coplow Quarry in Clitheroe, NW England.  Notice the numerous crinoid ossicles and the excellent bryozoan (probably of the Fenestella genus which is common throughout the limestones in Coplow Quarry.

Crinoidal Limestone