The Hemlock Stone - Fact or Fiction
In East Midlands, United Kingdom
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THIS IS AN EARTHCACHE, THERE IS NO PHYSICAL LOG TO SIGN. YOU MUST SEND ME THE ANSWERS (THROUGH MY PROFILE) TO THE QUESTIONS ON THIS PAGE IN ORDER TO LEGITIMATELY CLAIM AS 'FOUND'. PLEASE TICK THE BOX THAT ALLOWS ME TO SEE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS SO THAT I CAN REPLY TO YOUR ANSWERS.
Easy walking with man made footpaths. Slight incline to site but wheelchair accessible with assistance. Co-ordinates are for car parking in nearby Bramcote Hills Park - also on local bus routes. Cache site is situated across the road from the car park so take care with children.
Often overlooked, or taken for granted by the people of Nottingham this large stone is a real curiosity. There is a lot of folklore surrounding the stone and Geologists also appear to have different explanations as to the origin of it. I am hoping that Geocachers may be able to help to answer these questions.
Close to urbanisation and easily accessible from Junction 26 of the M1 this Earthcache is published in recognition of a local landmark and site of scientific interest. I have researched a number of articles concerning the site and hope that I have been able to present a balanced, understandable and educational account.
The Hemlock Stone is a rock outcrop situated near to the top of Stapleford Hill, Nottinghamshire. The stone and the surrounding hills are made up of red sandstone. The stone was deposited in the early Triassic period over 200 million years ago. Sandstone is a sedimentary rock. There are three main rock groups, Sedimentary, Igneous and Metamorphic. Sedimentary rocks are formed when particles of sediment are deposited out of air, ice or water. Pressure then forces the sedimentation together and it forms layers – this process is called ‘lithification’ (rock formation). Grains of quartz are the most common fragments in sandstones. Mudcracks and ripple marks in the Triassic sandstones indicate that they were laid down in shallow waters.
The Hemlock Stone is distinctive in that it is red-coloured at the base and black at the top. This is due to the upper part of the Hemlock Stone being impregnated with barium sulphate or barites, a mineral that is resistant to weathering and cements the softer sandstone making it very hard. The high concentration of barite has the effect of giving the sandstone base a protective cap.
The passage of time has caused erosion to the softer sandstone base, the erosion being caused by a number of elements (See Question 1). This could account for the strange ridges and form of the Hemlock Stone today. The Hemlock Stone is situated on part of the area that formed part of the old ‘Forest of Sherwood’. The forest is said to have run from Worksop in the North of Nottinghamshire to Nottingham Park in the South West of the County, this part of the land being predominantly made up of red sandstone. The quality of the soil was very poor and this may account for a lot of the land being left as forest and not being cultivated. Over the years there have been many different theories as to how The Hemlock Stone came to be. Some of the theories are based in science, some in folklore.
1. The formation of the Hemlock Stone is purely the work of nature
2. The Hemlock Stone is the work of man
3. The stone was thrown by the devil whilst standing in Castleton (Derbyshire) and being angered by a monk in Lenton Priory or the sound of church bells
4. The Stone was originally called The Himlack Stone or the Cromlech Stone
There is no doubt that sandstone and barite are predominant in this area, there are other similar sandstone features in Nottinghamshire (See Question 2). It is therefore possible that the Hemlock Stone was formed by natural means and stands in remembrance of the Triassic Period.
There is evidence on the surrounding hillside and from early records that sand quarrying took place in this area. It is also possible that the early quarriers left the harder stone behind. The legend that the devil threw the stone whilst standing in the Peak District does not sound so ridiculous when you learn that there is The Derbyshire Portway, this is an ancient prehistoric track way which can be traced from Mam Tor in the North of Derbyshire and traverses to the Hemlock Stone in Nottinghamshire, thus linking fact with legend?
The Hemlock Stone has long been linked with stories of Druids and Witchcraft, the different names attributed to the stone (See Question 3) can be interpreted in such a way so as to support the premise that the site has been used for pagan rituals and has been of historic significance for many years.
Name 3 different causes of erosion
What other notable landmark is situated at the top of a Sandstone outcrop in Nottingham.
What is the meaning of the word ‘Cromlech’
Now that you have visited the site I would ask that you estimate the height of the stone as it now stands from ground to top and choose one from the below list that you believe explains the existence of the Hemlock Stone
A. The stone is the work of nature and a natural phenomenon
B. The stone is the residue from early quarriers who left this pillar untouched as it was too hard to quarry
C. The stone was thrown by the devil, who was living in Derbyshire at the time
D. Due to the strange size and shape, the stone was the place for Druids to gather and for pagan rituals to take place (There is no wrong answer to this one and you can choose more than one explanantion, or even offer one up of your own) In order to claim this site as an Earthcache I ask that you e-mail me the answers to the above questions along with a photograph of you and the stone. If this is not possible, then in order to show that you have attended the site I would ask that you tell me what is behind the stone and what is carved on it.
There are ongoing problems on this site with information boards being damaged and general urban youth - but the car parking and local area is ok.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 8/16/2017 7:52:58 AM Pacific Daylight Time (2:52 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum