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Brewins Cutting SSSI

We're working to improve the SSSI at Brewins Cutting on the Dudley Canal.

Brewins Cutting High Bridge
UNESCO Geopark Black Country logo

Brewins Cutting is located on the Dudley Canal and forms part of the UNESCO Black Country Geopark. It is also within the boundary of the Saltwells Nature Reserve in Dudley.

We've worked to improve the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by removing vegetation and shrubs from the rock face and surrounding area to prevent tree roots from damaging and loosening the rock. Removing the vegetation also allows the rock layers and formations to be clearly seen.

Brewins Cutting Dudley Canal

Rock formations

What makes this area so special is the rock formations along the canal and also at the nature reserve. The rock formations are a superb scientific and educational geosite and shows the different periods of earth history.

The exposed rock wall show two layers of rock from eras when the local climate was very different. The unusual position of these layers on top of each other, despite being 100 million years apart, make this a designated SSSI.

What to look for

Head to the site of the former Brewins Tunnel, under High Bridge, and you will see the rock formations. The older Silurian rock is at the bottom, and is a greenish-brown mudstone. The newer Carboniferous rock is on top and is more reddish-brown with pockets of coal and sandstone.

The lower rock is sandstone from Silurian Era about 418 million years ago. When this rock was laid down, the area was a shallow tropical sea full of fish, molluscs and simple vegetation.

Last Edited: 20 April 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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