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Brymbo Fossil Forest – Introduction

From Coal to Carnations: The Evolution of Plants featuring fossils from the Brymbo Fossil Forest

The Brymbo Fossil Forest was discovered in 2003 during open cast mining for coal on the former Brymbo steelworks site. Over the past five years, careful excavation work by volunteers, led by Dr Jacqui Malpas and Peter Appleton, has revealed the only known fossil forest in Wales.

The fossil trees at Brymbo are about 300 million years old; a period of time so huge it is difficult to comprehend. This exhibition sets the Brymbo Fossil Forest in its geological context. This is also the first time the Brymbo Fossils have been on display in an exhibition in Wales.

‘From Coal to Carnations: The Evolution of Plants’ was first shown at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester.

Historical background

John Wilkinson, iron master

Coal was dug in Brymbo during the Middle Ages and the industry was well established by Tudor times (16th century). Coal was one of the reasons John Wilkinson bought the Brymbo Hall estate in 1792 and founded his famous ironworks there.

Wilkinson’s ironworks produced its first iron in 1796 and its first steel in 1885. Brymbo specialized in producing engineering steel from the 1940s and became well-known, both in Britain and abroad, for its high quality and standards. The steelworks finally closed in 1990. The fossil forest was discovered during the reclamation of the site by Parkhill Estates.

Use the arrows or thumbnails to navigate through the image gallery. If you want to view more information on the image click the "i" in the top left corner.

Arthropod, fossilized ancestor of a trilobite found at Brymbo Calamites, fossilized plant found at Brymbo Lepidodendron, fossilized tree found at Brymbo Euspenopteris, fossilized plant found at Brymbo Fossilized fern found at Brymbo Section of fossilized ‘tree’ found at Brymbo Excavating the fossil ‘forest’ at Brymbo Timeline © Grosvenor Museum, Chester

Acknowledgements

National Museums Liverpool
The Manchester Museum
Grosvenor Museum, Cheshire West and Chester Council
The Lapworth Museum, The University of Birmingham
Dr Kate Riddington
Dr Jacqui Malpas
Peter Appleton
Richard Bizley
Brymbo Heritage Group
Wendy Carter le Fol
Wrexham County Borough Council Reprographics Team
Bark Design