Rockpools and trilobites

After rocks, fossils and wriggly creatures

our day at the National Stone Centre

we don’t know if there were hammerheads all those years ago…but there could have been!
completing a crinoid

Fossils to hold, investigate and draw, a sheet to fill in, or new sheets of paper for your own drawings. There were plastic models of what the organisms who we meet as fossils might have looked like “why is this shark pink?”, “this one’s got lots of legs”,  “Someone thought it might be…”, “Is there a better colour for a prehistoric shark, do you think?”, “Hmmmm….”

Our fossils collections were mostly of Carboniferous Limestone animals: the sorts of  creature who might have been swimming in the sea 290 million years ago that eventually gave us the limestone of the White Peak. No, we had no dinosaurs. We had no giant sea-reptiles or winged pterosaurs. But we did have goniatites and crinoids and the last of the trilobites. There were giant fish in our seas swimming over the coral reefs that would one day raise the spiky peaks of Chrome and Park House Hills

We made prehistoric ecologies on our fingers ( see idea below)

We even made some prehistoric rock pools for a walk along an ancient shore…..

Our next Derwent Stories event will be Butterflies, bumbles and picnics  on Monday 6th August in Darley Park in Derby


stroll along an ancient beach, look in an ancient rockpool


On our fossils day…..

Where did we go:

The National Stone Centre just outside Wirksworth. Postcode: DE4 4LS

Tripadvisor: what do other people think?

taking time with a coelacanth

What did we do:

there are walks round the site where you can see fossils in beds of rock and the bigger patterns caused by ancient seas and sand in the old quarry walls. There is lots to see and touch but they do not like people taking things away from the site or damaging their rocks (so don’t turn up with a geological hammer!)

Other activities: you can go “panning for gold” with bowls full of sand and small polished gems. The aim is to wash the sand out (big troughs of nice cool water outside for this) and find your treasures

See below for one of the activities we brought with us

Costs: there is a £1 honesty box for car parking. Otherwise access to the site is free

Toilets: in the main building, including accessible toilet. We’re not sure about changing table

Café: good selection of lunches, cakes and ice creams and nice places to sit*

Busy-ness: we were there on a sunny day at the start of the school holidays and there were always people around but not so busy that it felt crowded and noisy

Recommended: for people who like finding things out and looking at things and people who like having a bit of room

* We thought some site-specific ice creams might be good…“rare gem”– with shiny sweets in, or maybe sandstone (with caramel fragments), or even fossil ice cream with sugar shrimps…..

Derwent Stories events: after each of our DS events, we’ll post a report like this on what we did,

and where we went in the hope that other people might visit that place themselves.

We will also post instructions to try some of the activities we did as well.


In this blog there are finger puppet trilobites….make your own ancient rockpool and an invitation to try the Carboniferous Fossil Poem will follow shortly!

Derwent Stories

With support from Derwentwise and Foundation Derbyshire,

Stone and Water are running a series of public events in 2018 across the Derwentwise area.

All the Derwent Stories events are open to anyone but are planned for and

structured around families including children with additional needs

Fingerpuppet trilobites

You will need: a postcard-sized piece of thin card, pencil, coloured pencils, a pair of scissors, a small stapler

half a trilobite, folded card

These can start with either a drawing like the one above or half a drawing, drawn onto a piece of folded card with the fold corresponding to the main line of the cross

Cut it out, cut a line in from the edge to the side of the eye (the longer the better usually). Fold the cephalon (head) along this line, folding front over the sides. Staple in place. This will pull the head into a nice curve and the original fold will help shape the rest of the animal.

Add a ring of card to the underside, slide the puppet onto your finger and off you go! (Why not make one for every finger and have a family of them?). Use similar ideas to make other animals…look at their symmetry and overall shape: some work well with folded card (use the fold as the line through the middle of the animal to get symmetrical sides) while others are easier as simple drawings cut out and put on a finger ring





finished trilobites






fingers full of coelacanths












Published by stoneandwaterblog

We are a community group based in Buxton, Derbyshire, UK. Our goal is to celebrate the people, wildlife and landscapes of the Peak District through participatory art and environment activities

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