Geology Site Account
Church Lane Gravel Pit (site of), STANWAY, Colchester District, TL950238, Historical site only
Site name: Church Lane Gravel Pit (site of)
Grid reference: TL 950 238
Brief description of site:
Church Lane Gravel Pit was a quarry working the Kesgrave (Thames) Sands and Gravels in the 1970s and 1980s. It yielded a large number of minerals and fossils to the late Bob Burton, amateur geologist and lapidary. The site has now been developed.
Church Lane Gravel Pit in Stanway has now been infilled and the site developed. It was one of numerous gravel pits in the area but it is notable because it was the source of a large number of rocks, minerals and fossils collected by the late Bob Burton (1923-2014) who cut and polished many of them in his workshop in nearby Warren Lane. Some of Bob's specimens from here have been donated to the Essex Field Club.
Church Lane Gravel Pit was working the Kesgrave Sands and Gravels (Kesgrave Formation) which were laid down during the early Ice Age by the River Thames when it flowed through north Essex and Suffolk and out across what is now the southern North Sea to become a tributary of the Rhine. The gravel is mostly of flint but also contains ‘exotic’ pebbles of rocks from far upstream, some of which are ignimbrite (a volcanic rock) from North Wales.
The Burton collection shows how remarkably diverse is the suite of exotic rocks from these gravels. It includes Hertfordshire puddingstone, silicified fossil wood, silicified corals, rock crystal and flint and chalcedony geodes as well as numerous fossils in flint that were derived from the Chalk.
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Reference: Lucy 1999, Lucy 2015.
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