Geology Site Account
Strawberry Hill Pond, Epping Forest, EPPING FOREST, Epping Forest District, TQ413965, Potential Local Geological Site
Site name: Strawberry Hill Pond, Epping Forest
Grid reference: TQ 413 965
Brief description of site:
Strawberry Hill Pond in Epping Forest was originally a gravel pit. The gravel here is glacial moraine left behind by an ice sheet which surrounded the Epping Forest ridge during the coldest part of the Ice Age (see also Blackweir Pond).
From the car park on Earls Path Road, next to Earls Path Pond (TQ 415 967), a short walk along the Three Forests Way leads to Strawberry Hill Pond. Both of these ponds were once gravel pits, providing gravel for repairing the roads in the forest.
These pits are situated on a patch of gravel that is marked on the geological map as Woodford Gravel, an ancient river gravel. However, the composition of the gravel indicates that it is more likely to be glacial outwash, similar to the gravel at Blackweir Pond. Its situation indicates that it was probably deposited at the edge of a glacier that flowed around the high ground of what is now Epping Forest. Gravel deposited at the margins of glaciers are called kame terraces and this may be an example of such a feature. The gravel is clearly visible in the steep ground at the sides of Strawberry Hill Pond.
It was in these pits that archaeologist Worthington G. Smith, in a letter to the journal Nature in 1883, reported the finding of an ‘eolith’ (Warren 1925). Eoliths were crudely-chipped stones from ancient gravels that were thought to have been fashioned by humans. Most of these ‘dawn stones’ as they were called were found in deposits of gravel that were far too old to contain evidence of human occupation. They were therefore subsequently discredited as evidence of human workmanship.
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Reference: Gibbard 1994 (p.18 & 179), Warren 1925, Thompson 1913.
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