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Stonebridge Hill Sarsen Stone, HALSTEAD, Braintree District, TL83782912, Potential Local Geological Site

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Site name: Stonebridge Hill Sarsen Stone

Grid reference: TL 8378 2912

Brief description of site:

A large sarsen boulder on the wide grass verge outside Parley Beams Farm.

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Summary of geological interest

A conspicuous sarsen (1.4 metres long) sits in front of Parley Beams Farm at Stonebridge Hill on the main road into Halstead. The upper surface of the stone contains holes that may have originally been rootlets at the time of the stone’s formation.

An account of the stone in the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society in 1893 (Armfield 1893) states that a much larger stone then lay next to it but this has now disappeared.

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.



The sarsen stone outside Parley Beams Farm. Photo: G.Lucy

 

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Reference: Armfield 1893, Salter 1914

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