Museum Expeditions & Field Trips - 2017
Information Board & Site Map
This 200 acre park was formed in 2005 from a number of old chalk and brick earth quarries that were worked from the 17th century up until the 20th. The chalk was deposited during the late Cretaceous Period when this part of England was under a deep tropical sea. This sea then retreated, allowing erosion of the resulting land surface, before a later inundation during the Palaeocene. This was when the Thanet Sand was deposited. Overlying this in places are Thames deposits dating from the Pleistocene. In the site map photo above can also be seen one of many sandstone sarsen stones found during the chalk quarrying and relocated around the quarry rim.The Park is made up of seven distinct sections:-
The opportunity to collect geological specimens is very limited because as well as two of the areas being designated SSSIs most of the cliff faces are inaccessible by foot either being at the rear of lakes or having been fenced off. Fossils in any case are very scarce. Below are examples of what can be found:-
A complete tour of the park, starting and finishing at the Visitor Centre is possible (allow at least 2-3 hours), but involves exiting park sections and walking down roads and footpaths between each of the sites. Many of the footpaths are good, although some are rough and untarmaced. There are also steep gradients and some steps in places. For a map of the site showing the layout, paths and surrounding roads, click here.
This is the main "recreational area" - being right next to the Visitor Centre and car park. Two large lakes make up most of the quarry floor with areas of chalk grassland in between. At the far side of the gorge are high chalk cliffs.
View from the top of the gorge
At the south eastern corner of Warren Gorge is Mill Wood. Accessible from the Gorge only by an exit gate into Griffon Road and then by a footpath along Pilgrims Lane to the junction of Rainbow Road, Warren Lane and Mill Lane. The footpath through the wood lies at the top of cliffs of Thanet Sand and these are accessed by a flight of steps at the far end of the wood.
Thanet Sand at Mill Wood
Reached by exiting Mill Wood into Mayflower Lane and walking along to Philip Sydney Road, this gorge is in two halves extending both sides of the road.
The south side forms the Geology SSSI where fossil molluscs, ostracods and pollen have been found in the Pleistocene Thames deposits. The bottom and sides of the this gorge are covered in trees, grass and other vegetation and little of the underlying geology is visible except where small cliff falls of chalk and sand have occurred.
View from the top of the gorge
Entrance at the bottom of the gorge
The north side is the main section of Lion Gorge, made up of chalk cliffs surrounding a large lake and woodland.
View of the main cliifs
Exit to Devonshire Road
Just around the corner from the impressive exit from Lion Gorge are equally impressive chalk cliffs.
Grays Gorge SSSI
Opposite the eastern end of Wouldham Cliffs is the entrance to Grays Gorge. Most of the quarry floor is open grassland but scattered on the surface are many small boulders of chalk. Fossils are rare but can still be found in these. A large lake with chalk cliffs can be found at the north end of the quarry.
An exit from Grays Gorge lies directly opposite these low cliffs of Thanet Sand. Access to these cliffs is prevented by fences.
Sandmartin Cliffs as seen from Devonshire Road
Close-up from Drake Road
Once in Drake Road it is about a 15 minute walk back to the Nature Park Visitor Centre.
All sections of the park are accessible at any time but the Visitor Centre is only open Monday to Sunday 9am - 5pm (November, December & January 9am - 4pm). The centre is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Trail Guides can be bought here (currently £1) and the centre has toilets and a cafe offering hot and cold refreshments.
Telephone the Reserve Manager on 01375 484016 or or visit the Essex Wildlife Trust for further information.
Information Board & Site Map
A former quarry for Thanet Sand and Boyn Hill Gravel, extraction took place at Braeburn Park up to the early 1980s. When this industry ceased, nature took over and this 22 hectare area is now managed by the London Wildlife Trust in partnership with The Land Trust. Braeburn Nature Park is a designated Geological Conservation Review site because of it's exposures of Dartford Heath Gravel, of interest in Thames Pleistocene studies.
Fossil remains in the Dartford Heath Gravels are rare but have included elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus), Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), horse (Equus caballus) and bovids (Bos sp).
Also included in the park is the site of Wansunt Pit - a geological site of special scientific interest (SSSI) - where excavations in the Wansunt Loam deposits in the early 1900s revealed stone tools of Homo Heidelbergensis, dating from the Hoxnian Stage, an interglacial period between 424,000 and 374,000 years ago. Unfortunately, the actual excavation site (at the junction of Station Road and Chastillian Road) was developed in the early 2000s and nothing remains visible. (The Wansunt Loam is a stiff reddish clay deposit underlying the Dartford Heath Gravels and comprises fine grained loams, silts and clays along with scattered pebbles and water worn flint fragments).
The main entrance to the park is at the end of Lower Station Road, a few minutesí walk from Crayford Station. There is another entrance following the route of the old A2 road, Rochester Way, running along the south-western edge of Braeburn Nature Park. There are also entrance points along the boundary with the estate in Galloway Drive, via a grassland path, connecting with Falstaff Close, where this path adjoins a track.
Although supposedly accessible by wheelchair, most of the tracks and paths are quite rough and in places narrow to only a few inches. There are also some steep slopes and stairs, particularly leading up to the wooded areas.
The reserve is not gated and is open to the public at all times. There are no public facilities available on site. Telephone the Reserve Manager on 07710 194 268 or send an e-Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Ideal for children below teenage years, this Farm has a "Dinosaur Trail" that displays lifesize models of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. Look out for the 'Timeline' posters that provide an interesting display of the evolution of life from 500 million years ago to modern times.
Start of the Dinosaur Trail
Baby T. rex
Start of Timeline
Information about Palaeontology
For more information about the Godstone Farm and their Dino-Trail, visit their website Godstone Farm
Parton Bay, to the north of the town of Whitehaven, yields a variety of Carboniferous fossils from a mix of shale and limestone. This material is not "native" to the location but has been washed up by longshore drift from the coastal rock dumps to the south left from a former steel works and coal mine. As can be seen, all specimens are water worn. The local rock itself Whitehaven Sandstone, like most sandstone, is not fossiliferous.
Fossil fern Cordaites sp.
St Bees Head
St Bees Head is a headland of solid New Red Sandstone dating from the boundary of the Permian and Trassic Periods about 200 Million years ago. The red is due to the ferric iron oxide haematite (Fe2O3) with which the quartz sand grains are cemented. This rock is not fossiliferous. The red sandstones of the Permo-Triassic are very similar to the Old Red Sandstones but these date from the much earlier Devonian Period.
New Red Sandstone
Little Langdale was formed during the Ice Age and is termed a "hanging valley". This is where a small glacier has met and joined a larger one and once both have melted, the valley eroded by the smaller glacier is at a higher level. Where streams flow down these hanging valleys, they form waterfalls at the junction. Little Langdale is one of the many sources of the green slate so common across the Lake District.
Walltown Crag, Northumberland
A mining area for its hard igneous stone Dolerite since Roman Times, much of which was used in the building of Hadrian's Wall. The outcrop here is part of the "Whin Sill" an igneous intrusion that occured during the Carboniferous Period and left a ridge of Dolerite rock that stretches from Durham right across Northumberland almost to Cumbria.
This wildlife park has a good display of life-size dinosaur models in their "Dinosaur Zoo" which is suitable for children of any age. We took many photographs of the dinosaurs we saw but because of the poor weather on the day to be honest better pictures (and more of them) are available on the Park's own website - see additional information below. We have therefore shown only the photos we took of the things not included on their pages.
T. rex Statue by the main entrance
Dimetrodon Statue by the main entrance
Velociraptor "attacking" the Cafe!
Pteranodon at the Dinosaur Zoo entrance
Information board about fossil sites in Kent
For more information about their Dinosaur Zoo, visit their website Wingham Wildlife Park