What Is The Geomap?

Geomap from viewpoint The Geomap from New Fancy Viewpoint

In 2007, the Forest of Dean Local History Society was awarded a grant of £107,200 by DEFRA’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (administered by Natural England) to produce a spectacular piece of sculpture, known as ‘The Geomap’.

The Geomap is
an amalgam of two maps. Firstly it is a geology map of the Forest of Dean. Instead of bright colours on a piece of paper, the rock strata are represented by rocks taken from both operational and disused quarries in the Dean. It is a 900 square foot rock map in surface view which is flat and polished, but not shiny, so that the public can walk on it. We believe it is the only map of its kind in the world.

Secondly, it is an industrial history map showing the location of 102 collieries, 35 iron mines and 49 stone quarries, as well as the main railway lines and three long-lived tramroads that were so important for the expansion of these industries in the nineteenth century. The mines and quarries are located using numbered discs on the map; basalt for the collieries, steel for the iron mines and marble for the quarries.

The great industries of quarrying and mining in the Forest of Dean date back to pre-Roman times. Most of the coal and iron mines on the map are now disused, but several quarries are still in use, providing both building stone and aggregate. The coal seams are located in the Pennant and Trenchard Groups and the iron mines were virtually all located within half a mile of the Crease Limestone, part of the Carboniferous Limestone Series. Quarries are located in limestone areas for aggregate extraction and formerly for agricultural lime, and in sandstone areas for building stone.

The Geomap demonstrates the link between the underlying geology and the quarrying and mining industries in the Forest of Dean, and celebrates these great industries both of the past and the present in this unique and beautiful landscape.

Who Was The Sculptor?

Geomap Sculptor David Yeates

David Yeates, sculptor of the Geomap

David Yeates studied Fine Art at the Royal Forest of Dean College in Gloucestershire and then attained a 2:1 B.A. Hons degree in Art & Design, specialising in sculpture, at the Carmarthenshire College of Arts and Technology. He was awarded ‘Student of the Year’ in stone sculpture; three years concurrently his work was accepted for the ‘Bronze Medal Foundation’. His work is often commissioned, and he has designed a range of sculptural pieces for outdoor projects and gardens, most recently completed being ‘public art’ commission of three ‘Forest of Dean Oak’ benches for Gloucester City Council’s project on the redevelopment of Kings Square, which he designed and built himself. David also designed and created ten sculptures from ‘Forest Sandstone’; the largest being over 7 tons for the Lydney Docks development alongside the River Severn, commissioned by the Environment Agency.

How was the Geomap made?

The Project Partners were:

Forest of Dean Local History Society (lead organisation)
Forestry Commission
Gloucestershire Geology Trust
Coleford MCTI Partnership

Forest of Dean District Council

Geomap Project Partners 

Some of the Project Partners with
David Yeates


To create the Geomap a full size enlargement of the area’s geology map was printed and laid out on the floor of a large warehouse. Using this as a template, the sculptor cut the slabs of stone so that all the pieces fitted together like an enormous jigsaw.

 Geomap being prepared in the wharehouse

How Was It Built at New Fancy?

Map foundations were made of reinforced concrete, half a metre thick. The map was correctly orientated North/South. The map jigsaw was then fixed to the foundations, using a dry mix. The coal mines, iron mines and quarries are represented by numbered discs on the map. The discs were drilled into the map and fixed using a cement mix. The main railway lines and some tramroads were then painted onto the map.

 Geomap showing the concrete foundations

Construction at New Fancy showing the substantial concrete foundations

Geomap painting on the railway lines

David Yeates painting on the railway lines

When was the Geomap ‘Unveiled’?

The Geomap was ‘unveiled’ at New Fancy on Saturday 3rd May 2008, with a brass band and large crowds in attendance.

 Geomap unveiling by Mark Harper and John Harvey

Mark Harper M.P. and John Harvey unveiling the Geomap

 Geomap unveiling David Yeates Liz Berry Christine Martyn

Sculptor David Yeates with his wife, Liz Berry (Project Manager),
and Christine Martyn (Chair of FODLHS) at the unveiling

In 2008 the Geomap was voted joint winner of the prestigious ENI Geological Challenge Award for the best geology project in the UK. The Forest of Dean Local History Society received an engraved glass award and a £500 cheque.

ENI award presentation

Pictured at award ceremony in London are Chris Darmon of Geosupplies, Alessandro Lanza of Eni Corporate University,
Dr Liz Berry and Prof David Berry of the Forest of Dean Local History Society.

 Where can I see the Geomap

 Geomap Location Map


The Geomap is at the
New Fancy Viewpoint
in the Forest of Dean,
Gloucestershire, two miles south
of the Speech House Hotel (see map).

Follow the A40 out of Gloucester, picking up the A4136 towards Monmouth, or take the A48 from Chepstow to Lydney



 At New Fancy you will find the Geomap on a flat grassy area opposite the Miners Memorial which the History Society erected in 2005. An overall view of the Geomap can be obtained from the high viewpoint, an old spoil heap of the former New Fancy Colliery, accessible by a footpath. There is disabled access.

To learn more about the Geomap, before your visit to the New Fancy Viewpoint, download the Geomap leaflets: