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Aldwick Lane Puddingstone, CHATTER END, Uttlesford District, TL47452534, General geological site

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Site category: Boulders - puddingstone

Site name: Aldwick Lane Puddingstone, Chatter End, near Farnham

Grid reference: TL 4745 2534

Description of site:

A large boulder of Hertfordshire puddingstone (115 x 100 x 70 centimetres in size) sits in dense undergrowth under trees on the old old bridleway formerly known as Aldwick Lane. The lane was originally a public right of way but has fallen into disuse and so the boulder is now on private land.

The boulder was first recorded in 1910 by the Rev. J.G. Geare in his book 'Farnham, Essex: Past and Present' (page 196). The boulder is described as lying 'in solitary grandeur in Dane Meadow'. Dane Meadow was the original name for the field to the east of Aldwick Lane. According to a local resident the boulder was moved from the field to its present position in the 1970s. Geare records that there were some local traditions relating to the stone.

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Hertfordshire Puddingstone

Hertfordshire Puddingstone is an extremely hard rock with an interesting history.

About 60 million years ago, shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs, this boulder was part of a beach of flint pebbles on the coast of a subtropical sea. About 55 million years ago the sea had retreated and the layer of pebbles was situated beneath the soil in a hot, dry climate similar to that of the Kalahari Desert today. During this time the pebbles were cemented together by quartz, forming an incredibly tough layer of rock.

During the Ice Age, about half a million years ago, rivers and glaciers broke up this layer and scattered the fragments over Hertfordshire and Essex. This boulder is one of these fragments and the original flint pebbles can be clearly seen. Puddingstone is so called because the pebbles give it the appearance of a plum pudding. It is usually called Hertfordshire Puddingstone because these boulders are most commonly found in East Hertfordshire. Some puddingstone is very colourful and in Georgian and Victorian times it was often cut and polished to make jewelry and decorative items such as snuff boxes.



The Aldwick lane Puddingstone (Photo: G. Lucy)

 

Extract from Farnham Past and Present 1910
Extract from Farnham Past and Present 1910

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Reference: Geare 1910 (page 196)

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