Creswell Crags exhibition hosts returning Bolsover dragonflies

TWO giant pre-historic dragonfly fossils, discovered at Bolsover Colliery 33 years ago, are returning to the area as part of a new exhibition at Creswell Crags.

It will be the first time the extremely rare fossils have been displayed in the district, having been on display in the National History Museum since their discovery in the 1970s.

The exhibition will launch on Saturday with a free dragonfly-themed family fun day from 11am-3pm.

As part of the exhibition, there will be several dragonfly inspired activities, including a trail around the gorge, an opportunity for visitors to help create a giant piece of dragonfly land art for the centre and an activity identifying some of the creatures which call Creswell Crags home.

Other attractions include willow weaving with weaver Liz Sparks and planting exercises by the stream, aimed at encouraging more dragonflies to make Creswell Crags’ watercourses their home.

The fossils, uncovered on separate occasions, are two of only four giant dragonflies discovered in England to date and date back to the Carboniferous period, approximately 300 million years ago.

The first of the two fossils, unearthed by Bolsover miner Malcolm Spencer, travelled to the National History Museum before being declared a new species.

Displays on the Carboniferous period, to which the two dragonfly fossils belong, and other discoveries made in coal will be included in the exhibition.

The landscape familiar to the pre-historic dragonflies would have been very different to our own, dominated by rainforests and swamps.

Rebecca Clay, project officer for the event, believes the exhibition offers ‘a chance to see a really prominent piece of natural history on your doorstep’.

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