Birmingham’s Erratic Boulders Have Mysteriously Vanished


| LAST UPDATE 10/19/2022

By Veronica Anderson
Erratic Boulder Mystery England
Instagram via @t_desekrator

Known as erratic boulders, giant rocks that once sat in Birmingham parks have gone missing, and the public has been called on to help figure out what exactly happened. Around a century ago, people were so fascinated by these massive stones that they would travel far and wide to photograph with them. However, according to an old survey recording their locations, some of these erratic boulders are no longer in their original place.

According to Beth Andrews from the Birmingham Erratic Boulders Project, these rocks "were very much part of the cutting edge of science in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so there was huge excitement around them." She shared that "people initially thought they had come here in icebergs from the sea" but eventually realized that was impossible due to their location "at the top of hills." Scientists understood they were "wonders of the ice age," making the boulders "hugely popular" amongst the population who would, in response, "dress up in their smartest clothes and travel for hours to see the boulders and have their pictures taken next to them."

Erratic Boulder Missing England
Twitter via @HouseOfHartnell
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However, during the recent interest in excavating ice age relics, it was understood some of these popular boulders have gone missing. These rocks were deposited by glaciers about 450,000 years ago and were moved around from the mountainous Arenig region of Wales and dispersed throughout the area of West Midlands to southwest Birmingham. These car-sized boulders ended up on display in public spaces around these areas, for example, in Cotteridge Park, Birmingham, or on the grounds of the Cadbury factory, and have become tourist attractions for those visiting.

However, over the years, scientists lost interest in these boulders. And recently, it was understood that of about 200 boulders that were marked in 1890, more than half have vanished. A rock in Rowheath, last seen in 1923 during an excavation on its grounds, has mysteriously gone missing, according to a project volunteer Julie Shroder. "It may have been moved for display somewhere, or it may have been smashed up, or possibly covered and reburied," according to Shroder. The National Lottery Heritage Fund asks local people to "fill in the gaps" on the rock's whereabouts and provide further information if known. Stay tuned.

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