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Essex Field Club
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are closed due to the Covid-19 situation, but we are otherwise normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also normally open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.

Geology Site Account

A-Z Geological Site Index

Goldsands Road Pit SSSI, SOUTHMINSTER , Maldon District, TQ961991, Site of Special Scientific Interest

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Site category: Thames-Medway River

Site name: Goldsands Road Pit SSSI

Grid reference: TQ 961991

Brief description of site:

Goldsands Road Pit exposes typical gravel of the post-diversion Thames-Medway River, deposited by the Thames, downstream of its confluence with the Medway River. The gravel is known as Asheldham Gravel (part of the ‘Low Level East Essex Gravel’) and is between 350,000 and 400,000 years old. This is the earliest evidence for the Thames in East Essex: the gravels at a higher elevation (‘High Level East Essex Gravel’) are older and belong to the River Medway.


Text from SSSI citation:

Goldsands Road provides a valuable section in the "East Essex Gravels". The gravels here were deposited by the Thames-Medway, a river formed by the confluence in the Southend area of the Lower Thames and Medway, which flowed north-eastwards across eastern Essex.

Deposits included in the East Essex Gravels and occurring at a greater elevation than the Southminster Gravel (which belongs to the Asheldham Terrace) are of Medway origin and predate the confluence of the two rivers. This implies that the Southminster Gravel provides the earliest proof for the presence of the Thames in the area, and that it is possibly equivalent to the Black Park Terrace deposits of the Middle Thames (of late Anglian age).


See also Asheldham Pit (separate site record) for a more detailed explanation of the Asheldham Gravel.


Mammillated sarsen stone found at Goldsands Pit in 2008
Mammillated sarsen stone found at Goldsands Pit in 2008

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Reference: Bridgland 1994 (p.357-362)

Geology Site Map
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