An image of the glacial erratic and new sign on the University campus.
Photo credit: Stephen Ashton, Estates department.

Nearly half-a-million years ago, an ice sheet carried a huge ‘erratic’ boulder from the basalt crags of Rowley Regis in the Black Country to Edgbaston. Compared with that, the gap of 115 years since its discovery in 1909 before any signage was erected is the blink of an eye!

You can now see the boulder and its interpretation board below the Bramall Music Building only 200 metres from the Lapworth Museum of Geology. The initiative arose from a recent National Lottery Heritage Fund project led by the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust in which the Lapworth Museum was a partner. The project succeeded in raising awareness of the glacial erratics in Birmingham which are almost the only visible evidence for the city’s history in deep time. The Aston Webb boulder is important as the only genuine erratic on campus. It also has a marvellous story to tell which was unravelled during the Lottery project: see

The boulder lies at the end of one of eight erratic boulder trails which can be downloaded from the above website. Emeritus Professor Ian Fairchild ( is happy to field any queries about the project or this boulder.