Specimen of Markfieldite rock on display in museum next to label showing Charnwood Forest Geopark logo.
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Leicestershire Rock Goes On Display in Luxembourg

A stunning sample of Leicestershire’s ancient geological heritage has gone on display in Luxembourg as part of a new exhibit celebrating important rocks from all around the world. The specimen of Markfieldite, from Charnwood Forest, is around 560 million years old, and is named after the village of Markfield where it was quarried.

The new interactive exhibition of the Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall, based in Beaufort, was recently opened by Luxembourg’s Minister of Tourism, Lex Delles. The region, like Leicestershire’s Charnwood Forest, is working towards becoming a UNESCO Global Geopark – an area of internationally significant geology that is used to support education and sustainable tourism. The team at Mëllerdall came up with the idea of the Wall of Geoparks to bring visitors closer to the worldwide network of these UNESCO sites, and the fascinating rocks they contain. Charnwood Forest’s rock sits alongside samples from countries including China, Canada, Korea, and New Zealand.

Markfieldite has been quarried in Charnwood Forest for hundreds of years, most notably at Hill Hole Quarry where the specimen comes from. The site is now a nature reserve, and is being enhanced as part of the Charnwood Forest Geopark bid. The stone is particularly hard-wearing, and was used to make kerbstones and setts, many of which can still be seen in the towns and cities of the United Kingdom.

Dr Jack Matthews, Geoheritage Officer at Charnwood Forest said “The rocks of Charnwood Forest tell a unique story, from the evolution of the first animals, to the stones that helped build Britain. That story is now rightly being told all around the world. We very much look forward to forging new international connections such as this one, as we continue our work to secure UNESCO Global Geopark status for the region.”

Conny Koob, Chargée de Communication at Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall said “We are delighted to have received a stone from the Charnwood Forest aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark for our Wall of Geoparks. It is another special piece that helps us to showcase the world’s exciting geological heritage. Most of the stones come from regions that are already members of the international network of UNESCO Global Geoparks. Being a new UNESCO Global Geopark ourselves, we are very pleased to be able to support the Charnwood Forest Geopark project. Mutual support is paramount in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, and in Covid times it was easier to send stones on a journey than people. We wish Charnwood Forest the best for its project!”

The Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall is most well-known among geologists for the Luxembourg Sandstone, which provides for stunning landscapes, an excellent source of drinking water, and even rock formations with their own myths & legends, such as the Wollefsschlucht (Wolf’s Gorge). Many visitors enjoy the regions famous hiking trails, with the Mullerthal route being acclaimed as one of the best in Europe by the European Ramblers’ Association.

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