Visitors to Royal William Yard are being invited to travel back through time to learn what Plymouth was like 380 million years ago. The University of Plymouth and Royal William Yard have joined forces to create a new interactive Geo Trail, enabling families to embark on an exciting exploration of the city’s past.
They will be able to discover that Drake’s Island was formed from volcanic rock; learn about Plymouth’s once tropical climate; see evidence of weird and wonderful ancient sea creatures; and feel the fossilised remains of old coral reefs. Weaving through Royal William Yard and along the South West Coast Path, the free walking route takes visitors on a voyage of discovery into the Devonian era.
Suitable for all ages and a fun family activity for the summer, a free printed Geo Trail guide will be available from the welcome suite at Royal William Yard’s Gatehouse. It includes a trail map with nine stops, each one marked by a distinctive plaque on the wall featuring a QR code. Scanning the QR codes will reveal videos of geologist Dr Jodie Fisher explaining how to spot the fossils at your fingertips and sharing fascinating facts.
The trail turns Royal William Yard into a living museum, bringing history to life in a whole new way by letting you find and feel fossils. From the natural landscape of Devil’s Point, to the building blocks used to create Royal William Yard’s grand buildings, the Geo Trail reveals remains in the rocks and stories in the stones. For those keen to find out more, head to royalwilliamyard.com/geo-trail
Dr Jodie Fisher, an Earth Science Technician at the University, said: “The Plymouth we know and love today was a very different place 380 million years ago. The legacy of this fascinating period can be found hidden in plain sight within the geology of the local area and in almost every building at Royal William Yard – you just need to know what to look for. The Geo Trail will give people a new perspective on Plymouth’s past, and shows how geoscience can tell us so much about our history and our planet.”
Hailey Cattle, Regional Marketing Manager for Urban Splash, added: “Royal William Yard is steeped in history and has a rich and fascinating past. Known for its collection of incredible historic buildings and proud Naval heritage, this is a relatively recent chapter in a much longer story; one that goes back many millions of years. There is always something new to discover here, and we’re excited that the Geo Trail offers visitors from near and far a chance to explore and celebrate our distant past.”