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Nether Hall Farm Sarsen Stones, GESTINGTHORPE, Braintree District, TL809393, Potential Local Geological Site

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Site name: Nether Hall Farm Sarsen Stones, Gestingthorpe

Grid reference: TL 809393

Brief description of site:

A large number of sarsen stones outside Nether Hall Farm, the largest some 2.4 metres (8 feet) long. This may be the largest sarsen stone in North Essex.

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Summary of geological interest

There are at least nine sarsen stones outside Nether Hall Farm. The largest (one of the largest in Essex) is a triangular stone some 2.4 metres (8 feet) long. The farm is private property and the stones can only be viewed from the road.

Sarsens are remarkably abundant in the area around Gestingthorpe village. Boswell (1929) mapped their distribution in the Sudbury district and stated that over sixty ‘blocks of sarsen-stone’ were present in Gestingthorpe parish. There are unfortunately far fewer visible today.

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 probably originated on the chalk downland of south Cambridgeshire and after retreat of the ice they became concentrated in river valleys such as The Stour.

 

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Reference: Boswell 1929, Lucy 2003a

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