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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

A-Z Geological Site Index

Pitsea Mount (St Michaels Viewpoint), PITSEA, Basildon District, TQ73858777, General geological site

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Site category: Landform or landslip

Site name: Pitsea Mount (St Michaels Viewpoint)

Grid reference: TQ 7385 8777

Brief description of site:

Prominent London Clay hill with landslips. Abandoned cliff line of the River Thames. Also a Local Wildlife Site.


Site description

Landslips are common between here and One Tree Hill (TQ 705 865) due to the steep slopes that represent an abandoned River Thames cliff line. The geology is London Clay, which is prone to landslipping on slopes exceeding 8 degrees. St. Michael’s Hill consists of London Clay with slopes of 9 to 10 degrees, which is too steep to ensure stability. All around the hill are cracked paths as the ground continues to move. It may take thousands of years for the hill to achieve a stable profile.

On the summit of the hill was St. Michael’s Church. The original church was rebuilt in 1871, retaining the 15th Century tower, and was still in use for services in the early 1970s, but it was later abandoned and became vandalised. The nave and chancel were finally demolished in 1998. The tower was spared and is now a prominent landmark.

The hill is an example of landslipped ground, with fine views over the modern Thames Valley including Wat Tyler Country Park and the creeks of Vange Marshes. It is a reminder of one of the processes that have shaped, and continue to shape, the surface of the Earth.


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Reference: Hutchinson 1965 (p.9), Lake et al. 1986 (p.53).

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