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Status: Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS)
Summary: Undercliffs with remarkable and important geology and wildlife.
Description: The Naze derives from the Old English ‘naes’, meaning nose and stretches 3 miles northwards from Walton-on-the-Naze. Above the70 ft high cliffs rising from the shore, the Naze was farmland, then a golf course, and was requisitioned at the beginning of World War II as a watch-out and anti-aircraft battery location. Three blockhouses can still be seen, however due to erosion, two have fallen to the beach from the cliff top together with the concrete bases of rocket launchers use during the war. The Naze is currently a public open space. The dense scrub of hawthorn, gorse and brambles provides cover for numerous animal species and acts as a important landfall for migrating birds, including the occasional rare vagrants.
Reason for interest: In summer the cliffs provide secure sites for sand martins. Waders, gulls and terns can be seen along the shore. The cliff and foreshore sections at The Naze under cliff provide outcrops of the Red Crag and overlying sands and gravels. These sediments are shallow marine deposits of late Tertiary and Quaternary age laid down some 1-3 million years ago. There are rich marine fossil bivalves and gastropods, as well as other invertebrate fossils, The underlying London Clay, which is much older (50 million years old), forms much of the foreshore, being known locally as platimore. This marine clay was deposited in a sub-tropical climate and yields fossil plant material (seeds, nuts) and has also produced a unique collection of fossil birds, including a small parrot and a falcon. In April 2011l a £1.2m coastal erosion project, to help preserve an area of crumbling Essex coastline was completed. The 110m (361ft) Crag Walk was built along The Naze in Walton to help protect this Site of Special Scientific Interest and Naze Tower from the sea. More than 16,000 tonnes of granite rock were shipped in to build the walk, which includes a viewing platform overlooking the cliffs .It is expected the Crag Walk will slow the erosion to 20m (65.6ft) over the next 70 to 100 years, as opposed to the previous one to two metres each year. The building of the walk is recorded on the following web site http://www.stacey.peak media.co.uk/Walton/WaltonFeb2011/Walton8Feb2011.htm
Comment: Two web sites that are relevant to this particular site, and may be of interest are:- 1. Discovering Fossils http://www.discoveringfossils.co.uk/walton_on_naze_fossils.htm 2. Google – Images - Geology of Walton on the Naze. Both have many images of the site itself and the fossils to be found there.
Naze undercliff Grag Walk looking south
Naze cliffs shore scoured by easterlies
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