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Polyommatus icarus
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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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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

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Mistley Heath (Elephant and rhinoceros remains), MISTLEY HEATH, Tendring District, Historical site only


Site category: Interglacial deposit

In 1966 the geologist H.E.P. Spencer reported in the Essex Naturalist that work on the anti-aircraft battery at Mistley Heath during the Second World War resulted in the discovery of elephant and rhinoceros remains in brickearth. He also said that this brickearth was subsequently also seen at Wix Lodge.

The site has not yet been relocated. Spencer may have been referring to the underground cold war operations room at Mistley (the ‘secret bunker’) at TM 122 313 but this was not built until 1951. It is possible that the bunker was built on the site of the anti-aircraft battery he refers to. Most fossiliferous brickearth is situated on the coast, at sea level or thereabouts. If rediscovered, this site would be the first at a higher altitude, and could potentially be very important. It may date from ‘marine isotope stage 7’ – an interglacial stage that occurred about 200,000 years ago.

Further research is required to establish the exact site of these finds.


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Reference: Spencer 1966.

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