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Geology Site Account

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Wormingford Mere, WORMINGFORD , Colchester District, TL925327, Potential Local Geological Site

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Site category: Periglacial deposits and features

Site name: Wormingford Mere

Grid reference: TL 925327

Brief description of site:

Wormingford Mere is a deep, dark body of water, fed by springs and joined on the northern side to the River Stour through a small cut. It is surrounded trees and bordering on arable fields. It is fenced for use by an Angling Group. It is thought to be a glacial solution feature that could be of considerable age. No published research has been located.

Further information:

According to an a report on the website of the Colchester Archaeological Group, staff and PhD students from Cambridge University’s Department of Botany took a core of sediment from Wormingford Mere in 1981. The results were as follows:

“In the centre of the mere the water is 20 feet deep. Below this there is 30 feet of soft dark mud, underlain by a further 17 feet of dry, very compact mud. This lower mud is very difficult to penetrate, and eventually we lost our hole even though we had not reached the bottom…….Such a thickness of mud is unusual in English lakes; the record is held by Saham Toney mere in Norfolk with a total of 87 feet of mud.”

Later, more results were reported to the landowner:

“We have now analysed the pollen and spore content of the lowermost mud, and at a depth of 47 feet into the mud, the mud is about 9,000 years ago. The forest vegetation then was very different to anything we have today, being dominated by hazel and birch, with small amounts of elm. From our experiences elsewhere in East Anglia, we would expect a further 4,000 years of record to be present in your mere, extending back to the end of the last ice age."

A return visit was planned to core to the bottom of the Mere but apparently this did not happen. According to the report the mere has such a great thickness of stiff sediment that is difficult to core. It would be a major undertaking to get a complete core and a long and time-consuming study to do a detailed pollen stratigraphy as the pollen concentration is low, probably because of the high sediment accumulation rate.


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Reference: EHER: 9180. Unpublished document on Colchester Archaeological Group's website (retrieved 31 August 2020)

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