Geology Site Account
Hatfield Forest erratic boulders , HATFIELD FOREST, Uttlesford District, TL541198, Potential Local Geological Site
Site name: Hatfield Forest erratic boulders
Grid reference: TL 541 198
Brief description of site:
Between Takeley and Bishop’s Stortford lies Hatfield Forest, 1,100 acres of medieval woodland owned by the National Trust. On the southern edge of the lake were four large partially-submerged boulders, two of Hertfordshire puddingstone and two of sandstone. Two of the puddingstone boulders have now been moved next to the Shell House. The boulders were discovered when the lake was created in about 1750. The two largest boulders are about 1.4 metres (4’6”) long.
Hertfordshire Puddingstone was formed around 55 million years ago when the climate of Britain was hot and a layer of pebbles 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 in Hertfordshire, hence the name, and were probably carried to Essex by the River Thames when it flowed north of its present course. These boulders may have been picked up by the Anglian Ice Sheet from the gravel and dumped here when the ice melted.
The sandstone boulders have not been identified. They do not appear to be sarsen stones.
Adjacent to the Shell House a boulder of limestone(?) (80 cm by 45 cm) protrudes from the ground.
Flint fossil shells used to make a model bird on the Shell House
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Reference: Lucy 2003a
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