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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.

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Willingale Sarsen Stone, WILLINGALE, Epping Forest District , TL596072, General geological site

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Site category: Boulders - sarsen

Site name: Willingale Sarsen Stone

Grid reference: TL 596072

Brief description of site:

On the corner opposite the public house in the centre of the village is a rounded sarsen stone (90cm x 50cm x 30cm in size) (Salter 1914). Two slightly smaller sarsen stones can be found on the verge next to Dukes Farm (TL 595079), one buried in undergrowth.

South-east of the village, on the Spains Hall Road, a sarsen stone (110cm x 100cm x 50cm) has been reported on the east side of the lorry entrance to Spains Hall Farm (Tony Charlton - personal communication).

Sarsen stones

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 originated on the chalk downland north and west of Essex and were carried here by rivers and glaciers. After retreat of the ice they became concentrated in river valleys.

The formation of silcretes (which includes sarsens and puddingstones) has been the subject of recent scientific debate. Research has compared the conditions under which sarsens and puddingstones may have been formed with the present day climate in the Kalahari Desert and parts of Australia.

 

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Reference: Salter 1914, Lucy 2003a

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