Geology Site Account
Wyldingtree sarsen stones, NORTH WEALD BASSET , Epping Forest District, TL51020594, Potential Local Geological Site
Site name: Wyldingtree sarsen stones
Grid reference: TL 5102 0594
Brief description of site:
At Wyldingtree farmhouse are three sarsen stones (the largest 120cm x 60cm x 40cm) and a puddingstone (80cm x 70cm) on the roadside by the entrance. A fourth and much larger sarsen stone (180cm x 120cm x 45cm) is situated just inside the private garden.
Sarsens are extremely hard boulders of sandstone formed around 55 million years ago when the climate of Britain was hot and a layer of sand 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 on the chalk downland north and west of Essex and were carried here by rivers and glaciers. After retreat of the ice they became concentrated in river valleys.
The formation of silcretes (which includes sarsens and puddingstones) has been the subject of recent scientific debate. Research has compared the conditions under which sarsens and puddingstones may have been formed with the present day climate in the Kalahari Desert and parts of Australia.
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Reference: Salter 1914, Lucy 2003a
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