Why I'm walking to the Bristol Dinosaur's home
ACOUPLE of weeks ago I had a call from Pedro Viegas from the University of Bristol, who is leading the Bristol Dinosaur project with naturalist Ed Drewitt.
He asked if I could go to the university and meet him to discuss the project.
I jumped at the chance. My heart was pounding with excitement as I watched students preparing the dinosaur bones.
They were using air compression drills, tiny things which vibrate and remove the limestone rock from the bone. It is a process which seems to take forever.
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I must have seemed like a big kid in a sweet shop because I could not stop asking questions and touching things.
Pedro asked me if I could lead a walk for them from the university to the Bristol Downs, which is where the dinosaur bones were found in 1834 - only the fourth dinosaur in the world to be found.
I said I would love to. I have been fascinated with the Bristol Dinosaur project and have also studied the pre history of Bristol for many years.
I have amassed my own collection of fossils, so to be asked to be involved in this project is really exciting.
The dinosaur that was found is around 210 million years old, from the Triassic period.
At that time Britain was no more than a series of tropical islands located where Morocco is today.
The dinosaur called Thecodontosaurus was a small creature about 2m in length - just a bit bigger than my Labrador dog. It was a herbivore that roamed the tropical islands.
The geological history of the Downs is fascinating. The Downs are made up of limestone which was formed around 400 million years ago under the sea.
As Pedro explained, Bristol Limestone is classed as the world's best limestone and for many years merchants came from around the world to quarry this precious stone to use as building materials.
That continued until the powers that be had enough of the decimation of the landscape and ended the quarrying. The quarry was then filled in and then the Downs committee was formed. I am leading "A walk back in time" on Saturday, November 2. If you would like to book a place please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website www.steveengland.co.uk .
Steve England is an (RHS) horticulturist, amateur naturalist and chairman of the Stoke Park steering group. He lives in Lockleaze and has spent his whole life at Stoke Park from playing there as a boy to studying its history, wildlife, and pre historic past. Contact him at email@example.com