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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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In January we are only open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.
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Geology Site Account

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Littlebury M11 motorway cuttings , LITTLEBURY, Uttlesford District, TL504408, Historical site only

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Site name: Littlebury M11 motorway cuttings

Grid reference:

Brief description of site:

A large collection of glacial erratics was collected in 1974 from the boulder clay (till) and 'plateau gravel' in the cuttings for the M11 motorway at Littlebury and further south.



Boulder clay, plateau gravel and Chalk were very well exposed in cuttings for the M11 motorway in 1974 with specimens going to the Essex Field Club’s collection at the former Passmore Edwards Museum in Stratford. The collection is now at the Field Club’s centre in Pitsea.

A suite of 21 igneous and metamorphic rocks were found as glacial erratics in the boulder clay between North Weald Bassett and Littlebury, each specimen fully documented and catalogued. A suite of 47 igneous rocks were collected from the plateau gravel from cuttings and from a temporary gravel pit between the motorway and Littlebury (TL 511 403).

Since then, the plateau gravel here has been redefined by the British Geological Survey as a ‘glacio-fluvial deposit: chalky sand and gravel’, in other words an outwash gravel formed in advance of or beneath an ice sheet and containing erratic rocks washed out of the boulder clay – in this case it was dominated by pebbles of chalk.

The construction of the cutting for the M11 motorway at Heavy Hill, Littlebury in 1974. Most of the cutting was excavated in Chalk. Photo: G.R.Ward


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Reference: G.R. Ward (personal communication)

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