Sunday, 5 July 2009

Bramerton on Sea - complete with shells

TIME for a gentle geology lesson from Bramerton Common. Wander into the woods and have a quick scrabble in the dust beneath your feet. Because, as Broads author William Dutt put it in 1902:

“At Bramerton the beds of sand, clay and shingle known as the Norwich Crag are exposed. This crag is rich in fossils, and visitors seldom have much difficulty in obtaining at least a quantity of shells.”

In other words, Bramerton might be almost 20 miles inland, but the earth it sits on, has all the attributes of the seaside. Now in the age of SSSIs, digging for shells is probably actively discouraged here. But given that the Crag goes down for 12 metres and has survived for at least 1.8 million years, I don't think you can do too much harm with a short sharp stick. I found the shell pictured above in less than five minutes.

So what does all this prove? Well, that all those years ago sea levels were much higher. So much so that Bramerton and Norwich would have been on the coast. Because the crag is exposed to the surface here, Bramerton is famous-ish in geological circles. The "Bramertonian Stage" is the name given to the part of the Pleistocene geological period when this mix of shell and sand was first laid down.

But hey, they all know that at the bar of the Woods End, don't they?

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