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Argynnis adippe
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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
registered charity
no 1113963
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are normally open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays 11am-4pm, check. We are also open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.
Spring recording Record your Robin Record Common Frog Rana temporaria
Record Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum Record Tawny Mining Bee Andrena fulva
Record Dark-edged Bee Fly Bombylius major
Record Spring Flower Bee Anthophora plumipes
Record cuckoo bee Melecta albifrons

Geology Site Account

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Five Bells Railway Cutting, LANGDON HILLS, Thurrock District, TQ70548575, Historical site only

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Historical site only


The Essex Weekly News for 24th February 1888 reported the discovery of petrified trunks of trees 25 feet (8 metres) below the surface of the ground during construction of the railway between Tilbury and Pitsea. The trunks were clearly fossilised logs from the London Clay because they were described as resembling “heavy, solid lumps of stone” and were apparently marked all over with holes. Logs infested with holes made by the ship worm teredo are common in the London Clay of the Isle of Sheppey and show that the wood was once floating in a sub-tropical sea. This sea was in existence about 50 million years ago and deposited the London Clay across much of south east England.

What makes this discovery remarkable is the size of the trunks, one of which was described as “twelve feet long and eighteen inches in diameter” which makes them some of the largest ever found in the London Clay.

It is not known what became of these fossils although it is unlikely that the discoverers, having found out about their antiquity, would have reburied them. The exact site of the discovery is not precisely known but it was almost certainly the railway cutting running parallel with the B1420 south west of the Five Bells Interchange and very close to the border with Basildon District.


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Reference: Cole 1888b

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