Geology Site Account
Beehive Lane Sarsen Stone, GREAT BADDOW , Chelmsford District, TL71940554, Potential Local Geological Site
Site name: Beehive Sarsen Stone, Great Baddow
Grid reference: TL 7194 0554
Brief description of site:
A sarsen stone 90cm x 70cm x 60cm (3' x 2'4" x 2') in size sits in the car park of the Beehive Public House in Beehive Lane. It was obtained from the old 'Beehive' gravel quarry before 1906.
Sarsens are not uncommon in Essex, but this is a reasonable large example in a conspicuous position, and tells a story about the history and geology of the area.
Sarsens are extremely hard boulders of sandstone formed around 55 million years ago when the climate of Britain was hot and a layer of sand beneath the surface of the ground became cemented with quartz. They are thus very resistant to erosion and have survived the rigours of the Ice Age. They originated on the chalk downland north and west of Essex and were carried here by rivers and glaciers. After retreat of the ice they became concentrated in river valleys.
This sarsen stone came from the former Beehive Gravel Pit nearby. This must have been before 1906 as it is recorded by Salter (1906). Bristow (1985) provides a short account of the pit which was working the Kesgrave (Thames) Sands and Gravels. Several sarsen stones were apparently found in the pit, together with Hertfordshire puddingstone and other glacial erratics, including far-travelled volcanic rocks. The stone was therefore brought here by the early Thames which originally flowed through central Essex
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Reference: Salter 1906, Bristow 1985 (p.42), Lucy 2003a.
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