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De La Beche unconformity - photograph by Muir Mackean

The valleys to the south of Great Elm are of particular interest to geologists

Vallis Vale contains the famous  'De La Beche' unconformity; here, an old quarry clearly shows the unconformity between the yellow-coloured, horizontally bedded Jurassic Inferior Oolite limestone and the underlying grey, massively bedded and steeply dipping Carboniferous Vallis Limestone.

Further information on the geology of this area can be found on the British Geological Survey website

The nearby Wadbury valley between Great Elm and Mells, also displays some fascinating geology; again further information can be found on the Bristish Geological Survey website.

One spelaeological curiosity in this valley is the Mells River Sink situated a little way above the Fussell’s Iron Works. At low river levels, water can be seen to flow into a hole in the river bed. See report of an excavation carried out between 1974 and 1978

The Wadbury valley also contains three of the six Fussell's iron works, which in their heyday in the 19th century produced some of the finest edged tools in the country - further information