If you follow the seam of Bideford Black east up over the cliff at Greencliff you might be lucky enough to notice how the fields above carry the colour change in their soil, as a black/grey line at the top of the ridge. What evidently lies beneath the earth’s surface shapes and colours and even feeds our needs as inhabitants of the planet, affecting and even, it may be said, creating our ‘culture’, whether it be our agricultural, industrial or creative affairs. While bare fields are arguably not the best way to treat and nourish the land both for our own agricultural purposes or the encouragement of the rich biodiversity upon which our existence depends[i], such vast expanses of soil do allow us to appreciate the richness and diversity of the geology that underpins the places we live.
black field, greencliff (p ward 2013)
This intermittent, undulating and variable seam of 350 million year old Bideford Black runs from Greencliff in the west almost directly east, through Bideford to Hawkridge Wood near Umberleigh in the Taw valley. If you have seen any evidence of it in the fields, streams and hedgerows around you it would be fantastic to hear from you, or to see any photos you might have taken.