So it can be seen that when it began, the Borough had little cultural or geographic homogeneity. Nevertheless it has established a distinctive identity and is strategically positioned at the centre of a triangle joining LEICESTER, NOTTINGHAM and DERBY. CHARNWOOD has settled into a unity of its own, with the settlements along the SOAR VALLEY as "backbone" of the Borough and the urban area of LOUGHBOROUGH forming a link between the FOREST and the WOLDS country.
CHARNWOOD's current landscape is the result of complex events over millions of years. It's ancient rocks were originally formed through volcanic eruptions over 800 million years ago, the ash from which eventually formed the "CHARNIAN " rocks. About 500 million years ago, massive earth movements raised up a huge island of these rocks which it may be simpler to think of as "CHARNIA". The island was periodically surrounded by the sea, the movements of the earth giving it the north-west/south-east alignment we can see today.
In the PERMIAN period (200 million years ago) "CHARNIA" formed part of a massive, continental mountain range stretching from the Atlantic across Europe to the Urals in Russia. The TRIASSIC period saw CHARNIA being covered with sediments known as KEUPER MARLS, formed from sea and desert deposits. Erosion slowly removed these Marls until, by the last Ice Age, the higher sections of ancient "CHARNIA" began to reappear, aided by the movement of glaciers. This is still seen today with ancient crags protruding through much younger rocks to form the present pattern of rocky, infertile hills and fertile valleys.
These PRE-CAMBRIAN CHARNIAN rocks are among the oldest in Britain and contain many of the most ancient fossils. The rock is found all over the County and stretches at least as far as NORFOLK.