Geology Site Account
Stock Road Gravel Pits, STOCK , Chelmsford District, TQ69659962, Potential Local Geological Site
Site name: Stock Road Gravel Pits (disused)
Grid reference: TQ 6965 9962
Brief description of site:
Hidden in woodland just west of the Stock Road, north of the village of Stock, are disused gravel pits. These pits are an important geological site because it was one of the very few places where the 'Bagshot Pebble Bed' was formerly exposed. The pits are now overgrown but with the permission of the landowner it would be relatively easy to re-expose the gravel for study.
The pits are on private land and prior permission is required for access.
The Bagshot Pebble Bed is a layer of well-rounded flint pebbles that occurs on top of the Bagshot Sand. It has been interpreted by some geologists as being formed on the floor of a shallow, subtropical sea some 50 million years ago immediately after deposition of the Bagshot Sand; perhaps representing a beach as the coastline migrated across Essex. Others consider it to be younger, perhaps a marine deposit laid down at the very beginning of the Ice Age.
In the 1980s Bristow (1985) mapped the exposures at Stock as Bagshot Pebble Bed and therefore of Eocene age, but Ellison (2004) has reinterpreted them as Stanmore Gravel (formerly called ‘pebble gravel’) which is seen elsewhere in the district and probably early Pleistocene in age. The origin of Stanmore Gravel is itself controversial and Ellison considers that it may be marine. The pits at stock are therefore important to resolve this issue. The Stock exposures originally showed evidence of stratification (Dines & Edmunds 1925).
The site is of historical interest and has potential for research.
The British Geological Survey holds several archive photographs of these pits taken in 1923.
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Reference: Bristow 1985 (p. 26-27), Dines & Edmunds 1925 (p. 25), Greensmith et al. 1973 (p.32-33), Ellison 2004 (p. 52).
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