Wednesday, 23 March 2011
A gentleman in Devon
Aah it's lovely to spend time in the South West, especially when the sun is shining and all around are signs of how damp it can be. I did some serious driving in the last few days - all along the caravan route to holidayland and then around the southwest. It's an interesting area geologically as there are the granite intrusions amid various sedimentary rocks, with the associated metamorphosis and mineral intrusions within the sediments.
The granite moorlands are impressive in the way that the fens of East Anglia are, but incredibly barren. The lack of trees depresses me after a while, and I'm always blown away by the stunning woodlands and rivers that run down from the moors.
Geologically there is plenty to collect: igneous rocks, limestones, shales and certain unknown stones. One of which, I have no idea what it is, but it melts to a stunning fluid glaze by itself at cone 10.
There are numerous old quarries, often flooded, that have a wonderfully impressive grandeur.
I also drove down to visit one of the china clay pits. The site manager was extremely helpful and I spent a few hours being shown around + collecting various samples. The most interesting are those that are not commercially viable, such as the mica deposits. There are a few grades of china clay excavated here, each washed down into the valley individually.
The clay filled water runs along the valley floor till it is sucked up into the separating equipment at one end. The sky was pure blue and I was surrounded by acres of white sand. Almost like my dream holiday destination. Give me a kiln, a wheel and a small country pub and I'd be happy!