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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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Tylers Common and Upminster Well , HAROLD WOOD, London Borough of Havering, TQ563907, Historical site only

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Site category: Spa or spring

Historical site only

The bedrock of Tylers Common is London Clay with the higher ground consisting of Claygate Beds capped with gravel probably deposited by a melting ice sheet. The name of the common comes from the brick and tile works that formerly existed here, no doubt obtaining their clay from these geological formations.

Near the northern edge of the common was the Upminster Well or mineral spring which at one time enjoyed a high reputation for its alleged medicinal properties. Old records demonstrate that the well was in use as far back as 1699, the water probably issuing from the junction between the gravel and the Claygate Beds. The well was visited by the Essex Field Club in 1890 and 1911 when it was brick-lined and surrounded by a wooden fence to keep cattle away. The only trace of the well today is a depression in the ground with minor water seepage.

In 1914 Tylers Common was a stopping point on a walk published in a geological excursion guide. Geological Excursions Round London by geologist G.M. Davies included a six mile walk along footpaths and country lanes from Upminster station to Brentwood station, taking in a number of geological exposures such as Upminster brickworks and the sand pits and gravel pits at Great Warley. The book even gives the cost of the rail fare which was then 1s.2d (6p) from Fenchurch Street to Upminster! Most of the route can still be followed today but the walker now has to cross the busy A127 and the M25, and with the loss of geological exposures provided by the pits there is obviously much less geological interest.

Tylers Common is a public open space owned by Havering Council. From here there are views south to the Thames and the Kent hills beyond.

A drawing by H.A. Cole of the Upminster Well (Tylers Common spring) as it was in 1890. Illustration from the Essex Naturalist in 1893 (published by the Essex Field Club).


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Reference: Christy and Thresh 1910 (p.16¬19), Davis 1914 (p.75 -79).

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