William Smith and the landscape of Combe Down
by Combe Down Heritage Society
William ‘Strata’ Smith (1769 – 1839) was an English geologist, credited with creating the first nationwide geological map. During work in the Somerset coalfield he realised that rock layers were arranged in a predictable pattern and that the various strata could always be found in the same relative positions. Additionally, each particular stratum could be identified by the fossils it contained. Smith owned a house near Combe Down between 1791 and 1799 and produced the first large scale geological map of the area around Bath. By 1815 he had extended the technique of showing geological types by colour keys to a map of a large part of Britain – the first covering such an area, and remarkably similar to modern geological maps. This walk through the countryside around Combe Down introduces you to the story of his time here.
- William Smith
- Combe Down Heritage Society