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68. The Geology of London (2012)


Complied by Diana Clements

The new Guide to the Geology of London has chosen ten Itineraries from within the M25 to provide snapshots of the rocks underlying London. It aims to cover all the rocks types that outcrop within the area. It describes several SSSIs including Harefield, Charlton, Abbey Wood, and Quaternary sites in east London. Chalk is described from the magnificent quarry at Riddlesdown, Croydon as well as underground at Chislehurst and Pinner. Geomorphology walks and the Geological Illustrations of Crystal Palace Park are also described. It is a multi-authored guide drawing on the best authority for the locations chosen.

Look inside:

Table of Contents

Overview of Itineraries


Table of Contents


PREFACE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
LIST OF FIGURES

Introduction to the geology of the London area

Itineraries

1. The Colne Valley

2. Pinner Chalk Mines

3. The geology of London from Hampstead Heath

4. A geological walk around Trent Park

5. Disused Chalk pits and overlying Thames Gravels in East London

6. Charlton, Plumstead and Abbey Wood

7. Chislehurst Caves, Elmstead Woods and Sundridge Park

8. The ‘Geological Illustrations’ of Crystal Palace Park

9. Riddlesdown Chalk Quarry (formerly Rose & Crown) and Croham Hurst near Croydon

10. The Thames

GLOSSARY
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Itineraries
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The new Guide to the Geology of London has chosen ten Itineraries from within the M25 to provide snapshots of the rocks underlying London. It aims to cover all the rocks types that outcrop within the area. It describes several SSSIs including Harefield, Charlton, Abbey Wood, and Quaternary sites in east London. Chalk is described from the magnificent quarry at Riddlesdown, Croydon as well as underground at Chislehurst and Pinner. Geomorphology walks and the Geological Illustrations of Crystal Palace Park are also described. It is a multi-authored guide drawing on the best authority for the locations chosen.

Digital downloads of the individual itineraries listed below are now available to purchase in pdf format (2014).

Introduction

Rory Mortimore (Overview and Chalk), Danielle Schreve (post-Anglian Pleistocene Gravels), additional material compiled by Diana Clements.
Free to download

Itinerary 1 The Colne Valley
Bryan Cozens (overview and Quaternary), Steve Tracey (Lambeth Group and Harwich Formation), Christopher Wood (Chalk), Diana Clements (Northmoor Hill)
This itinerary examines the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary at Harefield SSSI (limited access) and the overlying Upnor, Reading and Harwich Formations. The itinerary includes chalk quarries along the River Colne and a discussion on the Pleistocene gravels.
Start point Harefield Great Pit TQ 051 897

Itinerary 2 Pinner Chalk Mines
Ramues Gallois (Chalk), Jackie Skipper (Tertiary and Hertfordshire Puddingstone), compiled by Diana Clements with contributions from the publications by Ramues Gallois and Ken Kirkman
The Pinner Chalk Mines are not currently accessible but because of their importance they have been included in the Guide. The itinerary examines the historic Cretaceous Chalk Mines including an exposure of the rare example of Hertfordshire Puddingstone in situ in the mine shaft.
Start point Dingles Chalk Mine TQ 115 905

Itinerary 3 The geology of London from Hampstead Heath
Diana Clements
This itinerary is in the form of a 3-mile circular geotrail intended to give an overview of the geology of London from the vantage point of Hampstead Heath and to look for clues to the rock types underfoot. Past quarrying for sand and clay is investigated, along with the need for water for London.
Start point Whitestone Pond TQ 263 863

Itinerary 4 A geological walk around Trent Park
Diana Clements, Norman Coles
The circular geotrail detailed around Trent Park looks for evidence for the Anglian glaciations that reached as far as London about 450,000 years ago. The walk is about 3 miles long and crosses deep valleys cut into the London Clay and also ridges of pre-Anglian Dollis Hill Gravel capped by glacial till.
Start point Cockfosters Road Car Park within Trent Park TQ 281 969

Itinerary 5. Disused Chalk pits and overlying Thames Gravels in East London
Danielle Schreve (Quaternary), Christopher Wood (Chalk), compiled by Diana Clements with contributions from Gerald Lucy (Chafford Hundred geotrail) and Peter Allen (periglacial features)
This itinerary is included in the Guide primarily for its contribution to the Quaternary geology of the lower reaches of the Thames which is described in some detail. The area is changing fast with developments in the old chalk pits, but accessible sections of chalk and Thanet Sand still remain.
Start point Greenlands Pit (restricted access) TQ 568 786

Itinerary 6 Charlton, Plumstead and Abbey Wood
Jackie Skipper (Charlton), Christopher Wood (Chalk), Jerry Hooker (Abbey Wood), Luke Martin (historical notes and Plumstead locations)
The SSSI at Gilbert’s Pit, Charlton is the best remaining section of Lambeth Group and Blackheath Beds in the London area and is therefore well worth visiting although access is currently limited. It is the type section for the Woolwich Formation. The SSSI at Abbey Wood is famous for the mammal fauna from the Lessness Shell Bed within the Blackheath Beds. Small exposures at Plumstead are included.
Start point Charlton Valley Grove TQ 4125 7830

Itinerary 7 Chislehurst Caves, Elmstead Woods and Sundridge Park
Christopher Wood (Chalk of Chislehurst Caves), John Cooper (History of Chislehurst Caves and Elmstead Wood field descriptions), Diana Clements (Sundridge Park)
Chislehurst Caves allows examination of Seaford Chalk and the overlying Bullhead Bed of the Thanet Sand Formation. The itinerary includes the SSSI relating to the Blackheath Member of the Harwich Formation at Elmstead ‘Rock Pit’. An example of a Pulhamite ‘rock face’ can be seen in the grounds of Sundridge Park Manor.
Start point Chislehurst Caves TQ 431 696

Itinerary 8 The ‘Geological Illustrations’ of Crystal Palace Park
Peter Doyle
Crystal Palace Park in the London Borough of Bromley is a masterpiece of park design by the visionary Sir Joseph Paxton. Created to house the iron and glass ‘Crystal Palace’, the park was developed on a series of themed terraces, with the Palace itself at the top of Sydenham Hill. Although the Palace was destroyed by fire in 1936, Paxton’s original ‘antediluvian monsters’ and geological cliffs survive.
Start point TQ 344 705

Itinerary 9 Riddlesdown Chalk Quarry (formerly Rose & Crown) and Croham Hurst near Croydon
Rory Mortimore (Chalk of Riddlesdown), Paul Sowan, (industrial archaeology of Riddlesdown; Croham Hurst)
The Riddlesdown Chalk Quarry ceased working in the 1960s but has avoided the fate of most quarries of landfill or development and so it is currently the best location to examine Chalk in the London Area. The Quarry is managed by the City of London Corporation and access is via them. Croham Hurst, less than 4 miles away at Breakneck Hill, is public open space. Small exposures of ferruginous cemented pebbles of the Harwich Formation can be seen at the top of the hill.
Start point Riddlesdown Quarry (with City of London rangers) TQ 338 594

Itinerary 10 The Thames
Diana Clements
This itinerary highlights the importance of the Thames in relation to the Geology of London. Geological walks can be taken along the foreshore at low tide, particularly on the South Bank in Central London where remnants of a submerged forest can be seen as well as Erith further downstream. London Clay can sometimes be seen at very low tide in the Hammersmith-Richmond area.
Start point Festival Pier TQ 307 803

Map of Itineraries