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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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Frinton cliffs, FRINTON, Tendring District, TM248205, Historical site only

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Historical site only. A rapidly eroding cliff line formerly existed at Frinton until sea defences were built. Fossils from the London Clay were formerly found on the foreshore.


Site description

The Francis Frith photographic library contains images taken from 1860 to 1970. A photograph in the collection, taken in about 1955, is of geological interest as it shows the coast at Frinton before the modern sea defences were built. The picture shows 25 metre (75 ft) high cliffs of London Clay overlain by Ice Age sands and gravels that formerly existed here when this was still a wild and untamed coastline.

A wide platform of London Clay was visible at low tide that yielded fossils of Eocene fossil shark teeth and fish remains. Several fossil fruits and seeds could also be collected in those days and one particular 9 millimetre long fossil fruit was found that was completely new to science. In recognition of the locality it was given the scientific genus name Frintonia. It is from a family of herbaceous or woody climbers that exist today in mainly tropical climates which is further confirmation of the warm climate when the London Clay rainforest was in existence. There are few other places in Essex that have had a fossil named after them.

Also found in the London Clay cliffs were transparent crystals of gypsum (calcium sulphate), known as selenite, which were given the local name ‘Frinton glass’.

Further information


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Reference: Davis & Elliott 1951 (p.332-333), Chandler 1960 (p. 37, 155-157 & plate 16), Hutchinson 1965, Cooper 1970, Collinson 1983.

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