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Geology Site Account

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Chantry Wood Boulder, WICKHAM BISHOPS, Maldon District, TL84321290, Potential Local Geological Site

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Site name: Chantry Wood Boulder

Grid reference: TL 8432 1290

Brief description of site:

A fine sarsen stone can be seen in Chantry Wood, a private ancient woodland near Wickham Bishops. It is situated at a T junction between rides in the corner of a part of the wood named Cornerstone Wood. The boulder is 114 cm by 75 cm in size.

Sarsens are not uncommon in central Essex, but this is a fairly large example and the only one known so far in the Maldon district.

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Details

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.

This sarsen is very rounded indicating a long period of river transport and may have been brought here by the early Thames from the Chilterns.



The Chantry Wood Boulder (Photo: Martin Heywood)

 

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Reference: Martin Heywood (personal communication)

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