West, Ian. 2013. Selsey Bill and Bracklesham Bay: Geology of the Wessex Coast. Internet site: www.southampton.ac.uk/~imw/Selsey-Bracklesham.htm. By Dr. Ian West, Romsey, Hampshire and Southampton University. Revised version: 19th December 2013.
Selsey Bill and Bracklesham Bay, Geology of the Wessex Coast of Southern England

Ian West,
Romsey, Hampshire

and Visiting Scientist at: Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences,

Southampton University,
Webpage hosted by courtesy of iSolutions, Southampton University
Aerial photographs by courtesy of The Channel Coastal Observatory , National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

|Home and List of Webpages |Solent Introduction |Solent Bibliography - Topics |Solent - Chilling Cliff, Brownwich Cliff and Hill Head |Lepe Beach and Stone Point |Submerged Forest, Hayling Island |Erratics of the Hampshire - Sussex Coastal Plain |Map of the Solent River Buried Valley |Borehole Data - Solent Estuarine System |Fawley Power Station |Hurst Castle Spit

This is a new webpage in preparation and text and illustrations will be added shortly.

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GEOMORPHOLOGY:

Sea Flood Risk - Medmerry

Medmerry Windmill, Selsey, Sussex, is at the site of a former tidal mill, and is at the margin of the low marshy ground of Medmerry, photo June 2009

An aerial photograph of the southern part of the Selsey Peninsula, Sussex showing possible problems of sea flooding in the Medmerry area

More detail shown of the Medmerry area of the Selsey Peninsula, Sussex, shown on a medium-scale aerial photograph

A close aerial view of the southeastern part of the Medmerry coast, Bracklesham Bay, near Selsey Bill, Sussex, June 2007

A high and steep shingle beach at Bracklesham seafront, Bracklesham Bay, Sussex, June 2009

The long shingle beach at Medmerry looking from Bracklesham to the built-up area of Selsey, near Selsey Bill, Sussex, 21st June 2009

A replenished and reconstructed shingle bank at Medmerry, Selsey, Sussex, showing the low ground around Broad Rife at the back which, although protected in normal conditions, is still at risk of flooding during great storms

Major flooding of the Caravan site at Medmerry took place during a storm and storm-surge on the 10th March 2008. Sea-level was raised by about 1 metre above the normal level at Southampton.

Here is a press report mainly from the Environment Agency, available in the website of Heart Radio Station. Go to:
Heart website for more news on this.

Selsey Flood Update:

After a night of further heavy winds and high tides, the Environment Agency is now battling to reinstate the shingle bank at Medmerry beach in Selsey. A flood warning is still out for the coastline from Chichester Harbour to Selsey Bill and Broad and Earnley Rifes in Selsey which means some flooding is still expected. An 800 metre section of the shingle bank, which provides flood protection to the large caravan site (2,200 caravans) and 650 hectares of land, was washed away by the storms and high tides yesterday afternoon. Half of the caravan site was flooded and 50 caravans were destroyed.
Environment Agency staff worked through the night to monitor the weather situation along with the tides and using bulldozers and excavators to rebuild the defences as much as possible ahead of the high tides. Although there was some flooding on these second high tides, the levels were lower than those of yesterday.
Six bulldozers will be working on the beach throughout the day to push up the shingle that is currently there. Once the weather settles and the water levels have gone down, the shingle will be imported to reprofile the beach.
James Humphrys, Environment Agency Solent & South Downs Area Manager, said: “The Environment Agency is already working with local communities who live along this very fragile coastline to determine how we manage it into the future. All of our research suggests that a realignment of defences inland in a managed way is the right thing to do. This would reduce the risk of flooding to people with the added benefit of less maintenance required.
“It is of little surprise that a storm of the intensity we saw yesterday, together with the high tides, caused this flooding. The shingle is kept in place year on year only because of our extensive and very costly maintenance programme. This is a very exposed and low lying coastline, and we expect large winter storms to cause breaches.
“The cost of replacing the shingle following yesterday’s storm will run into hundreds of thousands of pounds and there are no guarantees that we won’t see a repeat of this storm event in the near future, causing it all to be lost again.”
The Environment Agency, together with Chichester and Arun District Councils, is currently working with communities along this part of the coastline to consider options for managing flood risk and coastal erosion here over the next 100 years. The next stage of formal consultations on the options will start this spring.

Old sea defences of sheet piling at Medmerry, Selsey, Sussex, 21st June 2009

Sheet piling and concrete damaged by storms at the caravan site , Medmerry, Selsey, Sussex, 21st June 2009

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LOCATION

Medmerry Coast, West of Selsey Bill - Sarsens and Erratics

Raised beach west of Selsey Bill, Sussex Pebbles orientated vertically in the raised beach, west of Selsey Bill, Sussex

A coastguard station with a prominant tower is situated on the western side of Selsey Bill, not far from Crablands Farm and from the Medmerry Windmill and the large caravan park. The map reference of the coastguard station is SZ 845930 and it is clearly marked on the Ordnance Survey map - Explorer 120 - Chichester, South Harting and Selsey, 1:25,000. There are concrete sea-defences at the coastguard station but to the northwest there is an eroding coast with a low cliff. This reveals an excellent section in the Ispwichian (last interglacial) raised beach deposit of rounded pebbles, as shown in the photographs above. Over this is brown brickearth, which when unweathered can be calcareous with chalk solifluction debris. In normal conditions it is not usually possible to see what lies beneath the raised beach pebble bed. The present beach obscures the lowest part. At very low tides after exceptional storms more may be revealed. In late Victorian times there was much interest in the discovery here of a two ton mass of Bognor rock with striae like those in glacial deposits.

In 1892 Clement Reid discussed an unusual exposure of erratics at the base of the Ipswichian raised beach deposit at Medmerry. The exposure resulted from a storm of October 24th in 1891.

Erratics exposed by the 1891 storm, Medmerry, Selsey, Sussex

"During the continuous south-westerly gales of last autumn and early winter, the loss of land on the west side of Selsey Bill was extremely great. Not only was the cliff line cut back several yards, but the scour was so strong as to remove most of the beach and lay bare platforms of Eocene and Pleistocene strata at a level where we usually find nothing but beach-shingle. Immediately after the storm of Oct. 24th I re-examined the coast close to Selsey, and found that erosion had been particularly marked opposite Medmerry Farm, where the sea had undermined one corner of the farm buildings, though in 1898 it was about 20 yards away. This cutting back of the cliff, and the concurrent removal of most of the beach on the foreshore opposite, exposed a section unlike anything which had been seen, though the unusual abundance of large erratics on the foreshore had always led me to suspect that this was the critical point, and that there was a probability of finding the glacial deposit in place in the immediate neighbourhood.

Below the level of mean tide there was seen only a wide expanse of fossiliferous Bracklesham Clays full of Corbulae [note that Corbula is abundant in the Cypraea Bed or Brook Bed, S6 to S9 of the Selsey Formation, Bracklesham Group, which crops out quite close to Medmerry Windmil - see Curry et al. 1977], but at a level slightly higher, on the part of the foreshore first laid bare by these storms, the junction of the Eocene and Pleistocene strata was exposed. The relations of the two deposits were so peculiar as to at once attract attention. The junction was neither smooth nor channelled, as is ordinarily the case, but the whole surface of the hard Eocene clays, for a quarter of a mile, was full of basins or pits from 2 to 6 feet [about 2 metres] across. These pits were usually unconnected with each other, and strike one as a feature totally unlike the irregular eroded channels formed by running water between tide-marks. Many of the pits had nearly vertical sides and were 2 feet or more in depth, but it was difficult to ascertain the extreme depth, for on each occasion when the section was well-exposed the pits were full of water, and time and the tides would not allow me to bale out or drain many of them.

Four out of every five of the basins contained nothing but loose gravel, with a few valves of Balanus and rare fragments of marine mollusca. The loose material, except where cemented by iron oxide, has been almost entirely removed by the recent storms, which were not able to make much impression on the harder Bracklesham Clays. The remainder of the basins were much more interesting, for each contained an erratic block, which had not merely been dropped, but showed signs of having been forcibly squeezed or screwed into the clay, until its upper surface was flush with the general level. In this process the softer and more splintery rocks had been crushed, so that they are now found with their angular fragments slightly separated by gravel, or by fossiliferous Eocene clay. The harder masses were driven into the clay so that I was obliged to cut away fossiliferous Eocene clay to get out the Pleistocene erratic. It seems clear that most of these pits are not hollows eroded by water, but dents made by the ice or by erratics; for the stratified Eocene clays generally become much disturbed and contorted around the margin of the hole. The pits filled with finer material probably mark the spots where large erratics were formerly deposited, though, becoming again frozen into the ice-foot, they were lifted out and transported to fresh sites.

About a hundred of these pits were examined, and the conclusion seemed irresistible that they afforded clear evidence of the agency of floating ice. Drift-ice grounding on the ancient foreshore dropped its burden of erratics between the tide marks. Here they were pressed deeper and deeper into the clay, for the rise and fall of the tide at high-water piled ice upon any projecting rock, while at low water the rock was pressed down by the weight of the ice till it was flush with the general surface. Often, however, the still-projecting boulder would be firmly frozen into a new ice foot, or accumulated mass of pack-ice, and would then be gently lifted out of the hole at the rise of the spring tides. It is thus that I account for the occurrence of emptly pits, for they seem to mark the former sites of blocks which may have shifted their position several times before finally coming to rest. Perhaps some of the basins were produced by the stranding, packing and revolving of masses of ice during a storm, but the general appearance of the section suggests tranquil water in a sheltered bay. No signs of furrows ploughed in the clay were observed, and the ice was probably entirely in the form of flat-bottomed ice-foot, which, at a spot like this, sheltered from the prevalent winds by the Isle of Wight [but note that the prevalent wind-direction then is not known], would ground gently and would tranquilly melt away without being driven violently into the shoals, as on a more exposed coast."

Erratics belonging to the following rock types were recorded by Reid . See the original paper for more accurate measurements, which are given in feet and fractions of feet.

1. Bembridge Limestone, cream-coloured and with moulds of Limnaea [Galba ]. Four blocks studied, mostly about a third of a metre in length.
2. Bognor Rock, from the London Clay of the Bognor area (Bognor Ledge). Hard sandstone or calcareous grit, usually with Pectunculus brevirostris. Six blocks, some almost 2 metres in length. One block was bored. One large block was 5 feet by 4 feet and probably weighed more than 2 tons. This contained Pectunculus brevirostris and Voluta denudata and had been striated by ice. There is a photograph in Reid's paper.
3. Sarsens. Tertiary quartz-cemented sandstone. Four blocks, about a third to half a metre in length.
4. Black Flints from the Upper Chalk. Size was not specified.
5. Upper Greensand, probably from the Isle of Wight. Glauconitic sandstone, some cherty and some phosphatic, and also dark-coloured chert with sponge spicules. One large block of glauconitic sandstone was more than 2 metres in length. Most of the others were of about a third of a metre in length.
6. Hard pale green and reddish sandstone, probably Palaeozoic. About half a metre in length.
7. "Greenstone". Palaeozoic. About a third of a metre in length.
8. Granite of muscovite-biotite type. About a third of a metre in length.

Compared to a list of the rock types which have been found as erratics in the deposits of the neighbourhood of Selsey, the Medmerry rocks are unusual in including a predominance of erratics from localities within 20 miles of Selsey. The general list for the region includes many igneous rocks. Reid suggested that the local rocks, being less resistant, have in many cases disintegrated at some stage. Thus in time the harder igneous rocks become proportionally more dominant. Medmerry is important in revealing the original relative abundance of local material.

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LOCATION - BRACKLESHAM BAY

Sarsens and Erratics

Erratics of various foreign rocks, including basalt, diorite, syenite, granite, gneiss, etc., ranging up to 1.5m in maximum diameter and sarsens attaining greater dimensions, occur on the shore of Bracklesham Bay near Cakeham and East Wittering. They are occasionally seen in the low cliffs (White, 1915).

The fossiliferous mud-deposit of West Wittering occurs east of the entrance to Chichester Harbour. It crops out on the shore to west of West Wittering beacon but is obscured for long periods by accumulations of sand and shingle. There is an ancient eroded channel with Rhinoceras and Elephas, together with Corbicula fluminalis, Succinea oblonga and Hydrobia marginata (Reid, 1891 in White, 1915). The gravelly base is full of redeposited erratics. White marl with chalk grains was seen above this gravel at one place.

Important evidence for the age of the stones comes from West Wittering where peaty clays above the gravel with erratics is fossiliferous. This topic is discussed in the Dating of the Erratics Section".

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LOCATION:

Pagham Harbour

A general view of Pagham Harbour at high tide, looking from Church Norton northeastward towards Pagham Church, Sussex, 22nd June 2009

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

(to be added) References and Bibliography

Please go to Solent Bibliography - General .


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Bates, M.R. , Parfitt, SA and Roberts, M.B. 1997. The chronology, palaeogeography and archaeological significance of the marine Quaternary record of the West Sussex coastal plain, southern England, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews, 16, 1227-1252.

Bates, M.R. 2001. The meeting of the waters: raised beaches and river gravels of the Sussex coastal plain / Hampshire Basin. In: Wenban-Smith, F.F. and Hosfield, R.T. (Editors) 2001. Palaeolithic Archaeology of the Solent River. Lithic Studies Society Occasional Paper, No. 7, 2001, 111pp. Proceedings of the Lithic Studies Society day meeting held at the Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton on Saturday 15th January 2000.
Abstract:
Integrating Pleistocene sediments from continental systems and the marine stratigraphic record is a key objective for Quaternary science. In many cases correlation of these records is only possible through comparison of proxy records. However, this objective may be realised in those areas of the world where marine marginal sediments occur in close proximity to terrestrial fluvial deposits in the lower reaches of major river valleys. One such location is the Sussex/Hampshire corridor in southern England. Pleistocene sediments within the area of the former Solent River system and the West Sussex Coastal Plain are evidence for a wide variety of different depositional systems ranging from temperate flood plains and marine beaches to cold climate braided river channels. These deposits may contain archaeological material such as handaxes as well as faunal and floral remains. The proximity of sediments of both temperate and cold climate types within the lower reaches of the modern major river valleys should allow correlation between the temperate and cold climate stratigraphic records in this area. This evidence may be used to link the marine and fluvial stratigraphic records. This paper describes the nature of the different types of evidence from the Sussex/Hampshire corridor and considers some of the problems and pitfalls in the use of this information in the construction of an integrated stratigraphic frameworkfor the area.
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Bone, A. and Bone, D. 1985. Fossils from Bracklesham to Selsey. Private Publication, 32 pp. 8 pls. Chichester.

Bone, D.A. and James, J.P. 1975. Report of field meeting to Chichester Harbour, Sussex. Tertiary Times, 2/3, 99-100.
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Bray, M.J . and Hooke, J.M. 1997. Coastal cliff prediction with accelerating sea-level rise. Journal of Coastal Research, 13 (2), 453-467.

Bray, M.J., Carter, D.J. and Hooke, J.M. 1992. Sea-Level Rise and Global Warming: Scenarios, Physical Impacts and Policies. Portsmouth Polytechnic. Report to SCOPAC. 205 pp.

Bray, M.J., Hooke, J.M. and Carter, D.J. 1994. Tidal Information: Improving the Understanding of Relative Sea-Level Rise on the South Coast of England. University of Portsmouth, Report to SCOPAC, 86 pp.

Bray, M.J., Hooke, J.M. and Carter, D.J. 1997. Planning for sea-level rise on the south coast of England: advising the decision-makers. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, N.S., 22, 13-30.

Bray, M.J., Hooke, J.M. and Carter, D.J. 2000. Sea level rise in the Solent region. Pp. 101-102 in: Collins, M. and Ansell, K. 2000. Solent Science - A Review. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 385pp. By M.I. Bray, I.M. Hooke and D.l Carter of the Department of Geography. University of Portsmouth, Buckingham Building, Lion Terrace, Portsmouth, PO1 3HE, U.K. [Extract:] Introduction: Sea-level has been a major factor in the evolution of the Solent Rapid post-glacial sealevel recovery, between 15,000 and 5,000 years BP, inundated the system and continuing rising sea-levels control contemporary biogeomorphologicaI environments; similarly, they pose a potential threat to human occupation and uses. Concerns relating to the future effects of climate change and sea-level rise have led to several studies specific to the Solent region (Ball et al., 1991; Bray et al., 1992, 1994, 1997). [This is a short paper; see the other Bray publications for more detail. Marsh sedimentation results of local relative sea-level (Cundy and Croudace, 1996) indicate 4 to 5 mm per annum at present. A model indicates increase in rate to 6.5 mm per annum by 2050 but there, of course, uncertainties.]

Bray, M.J., Hooke, J.M., Carter, D.J. and Clifton, J. 2000. Littoral transport pathways, cells, and budgets within the Solent. Pp. 103-106 in: Collins, M. and Ansell, K. 2000. Solent Science - A Review. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 385pp.
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Cordiner , R. 2006. The Cretaceous and Palaeocene Geology of Chichester Harbour. By Roger J. Cordiner of Bognor Regis, West Sussex. Geode Publications, Bognor Regis, September 2006. A copy can be ordered from Roger Cordiner, 39 Devonshire Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO21 2SY for £6 plus 1.50 p & p.
Cordiner, R. 2006. The Quaternary Geology of Chichester Harbour. By Roger J. Cordiner of Bognor Regis, West Sussex. Geode Publications, Bognor Regis, September 2006. A copy can be ordered from Roger Cordiner, 39 Devonshire Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO21 2SY for £6 plus 1.50 p & p.
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Etheridge, R. 1883. Address of the President of Section C - Geology. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 52nd Meeting at Southampton in August, 1882. Transactions of Section C, pp. 502-529. By Robert Etheridge, F.R.S.L. and E., F.G.S., Assistant Keeper of the Geological and Palaeontological Department of the Natural History Museum (British Museum), London.[Consideration of the Eocene and Oligocene strata of Selsey, Bracklesham Bay, the Isle of Wight, Bournemouth, Hengistbury Head etc. The Brockenhurst Bed of the New Forest (Whitley Ridge railway cutting) and the Isle of Wight is discussed. Much of the information is from previous works such as Fisher, and Forbes but additional details are given. Edwards' fossil collection and correlation of Hampshire Basin strata with German and Paris Basin successions are other topics in this paper.]
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Fisher , O. 1871. Portland wood, on the coast of Sussex. Reply to Mr. Perceval. Geological Magazine, 8, 524-525.

Fisher, O. 1962. On the Bracklesham Beds of the Isle of Wight basin. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 18, 65-94. By the Reverend Osmund Fisher of Cambridge University. [An early, but well-known, key paper on the details of the Bracklesham stratigraphy. It provides detail on Lee-on-the-Solent, Whitecliff Bay, Bracklesham Bay and other localities.]
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Godwin Austen , R.A.C. 1857. On the Tertiary deposits of the Sussex coast. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 13, 40-47.
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Hodgson , J.M. 1964. The low level Pleistocene marine sands and gravels of the west Sussex coastal plain. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 75, 547-561.
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Hopson , P.M. 2000. Geology of the Fareham and Portsmouth District, A brief explanation of the geological map Sheet 316 Fareham and part of Sheet 331 Portsmouth. British Geological Survey.
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Johnson , J.P. 1901. The Pleistocene fauna of West Wittering. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 17, 261-264.
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Kellaway , G.A. 1971. Glaciation and the stones of Stonehenge. Nature, London, 232, 30-35.

Kellaway, G.A., Redding, J.H., Shephard-Thorn, E.R. and Destombes, J.P. 1975. The Quaternary history of the English Channel. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, A.279, 189-218. Abstract: Several lines of evidence for former glaciation of the English Channel are considered. These include the following major geomorphical features: (1) extensive areas of flat featureless sea bed bounded by cliffs with residual steep-sided rock masses rising about 60-150 m above them, (2) terrace forms bounded by breaks in slope or low cliffs, (3) palaeovalley systems related to the present land drainage, (4) enclosed deeps (fosses); all except (3) may be attributed to a glacial origin. The distribution of erratics on the Channel floor and in the modern and raised beaches of its coasts are attributed to widespread Saalian glaciation. This glaciation was responsible for the deposition of morainic material at Selsey and the damming-up of glacial Lake Solent. The so-called' 100 foot raised beach' of west Sussex is now re-interpreted as a fluvioglacial deposit laid down at the northern margin of the English Channel ice. It is thought that at the height of the Saalian glaciation mean sea-level fell to between 90 and 180 m below O.D. and that for a time the ice was grounded near the western margin of the continental shelf. Possible reconstructions of the limits and main movements of the Weichselian and Saalian ice sheets covering the British Isles and English Channel are included. [Interesting but controversial theory. Well-referenced and with very useful observations.]
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Kemp , David John . (Late specialist on the Bracklesham Group and fossil fish remains, including sharks' teeth, from these and other Eocene strata. He was the author of many papers and has an excellent collection of local fossils on display at Gosport Museum.)

Kemp, D.J. 1977. A Brief Illustrated Account of the English Eocene Shark and Ray Fossils. Published by the Gosport Museum, Gosport, Hampshire, November 1977. Six pages with tables, and with 11 plates of fish fossil remains. Original price 75 pence.

Kemp, D.J. (David John Kemp). 1982. Fossil Sharks, Rays and Chimaeroids of the English Tertiary Period: A Complete Illustrated Guide. Gosport Museum, 1-47, 10 figs, 3 tables, 16 plates. First editionw was 1977. This is the second edition of 1982. Printed by Gosport Borough Council. Original Price - £1.50.


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Long , AJ. & Tooley, MJ. 1995. Holocene sea-level and crustal movements in Hampshire and Southeast England, United Kingdom. In: Holocene Cycles: Climate, SeaLevels and Sedimentation. Frinkl Jr. (Ed.). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, 17, 299-210.
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MacMillan , D.H. 1949. Tidal features of Southampton Water. Dock and Harbour Authority, 1-8.
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Mitchell , G.F., Penny, L.F., Shotton, F.W. and West, R.G. 1973. A Correlation of Quaternary Deposits in the British Isles. Geological Society, London, Special Report No. 4, 99pp.
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Preece , R.C., Scourse, J.D., Houghton, S.D., Knudsen, K.L. and Penny, D.N. 1990. The Pleistocene sea-level and neotectonic history of the eastern Solent, southern England. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B328, 425-477.
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Prestwich , J. 1883. Notes relating to some of the Drift phenomena of Hampshire: 1. Boulders, Hayling Island; 2. Chert debris in the Hampshire gravel; 3. Elephant Bed, Freshwater Gate. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 52nd Meeting at Southampton in August, 1882. Transactions of Section C, pp. 529-530. By Professor Joseph Prestwich, M.A., F.R.S., F.G.S.    
"In this paper the author draws attention to a few points which have either escaped notice or on which he would put a different construction. 1. The remarkable boulders of crystalline and other old rocks of Pagham were noticed long ago by Mr. Dixon and Mr. Godwin-Austen; and Mr. Codrington has more recently described similar boulders in the gravel of Portsea Island. Those of Hayling Island have not yet been noticed; nevertheless they are very numerous. The author describes two of granite and three of sandstone of large size on the shore near the railway station, and states that he counted thirty smaller ones in a mile to the westward of the station. The greater number, however, of those ou the shore facing South Hayling village seem to have been collected to form rockwork in the Grotto grounds and in the grounds of Westfield House. Amongst them are boulders of granite, syenite, porphyry, slate, and sandstone. They are found scattered in lesser numbers all over the island, embedded in the flint gravel and loam which overlies London clay. Mr. Godwin-Austen considered that the Sussex boulders might be derived from an old coast now submerged in the area of the British Channel, but the author sees reason to believe that they are more probably derived from the coast of Devon and Cornwall. A large fragment of siIicified Portland wood has been described by the Rev. O. Fisher from Pagham, and the author saw in Hayling Island a piece above two feet in length of well-characterised Portland wood. The granites and other rocks, though not yet determined, seem to resemble West of England rocks, and he saw none of the characteristic granite of Cherbourg amongst the boulders. Further, the author found at Stubbington Cliff and Hill Head nnmerous quartzite pebbles similar to those of the Budleigh conglomerate. He concludes therefore that the boulders were carried here by ice at the time the old Raised beach of Brighton, Portland, and the Devon coast, and that their absence in the intermediate area is due to the destruction of the beach and the wear back of the of the old coast line, except at a few spots where, with remnants of the beach, the boulders have been preserved..."[continues]

Prestwich, J. 1892. The raised beaches and "head" or pebble drift of the south of England. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 48, 263-343.

Prestwich, J. 1892. The Solent River. Geological Magazine, 35, 349-351.

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Reid, C. 1892. The Pleistocene deposits of the Sussex coast and their equivalents in other districts. Quarterly Journal Geological Society, London , 48, 344-361. By Clement Reid.

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Wallace , H. 1996. The Vanished and Forgotten Estuary of the Lavant, and its Iron-Age and Roman Port off and under the Present Selsey East Beach. Sea Level and Shoreline Between Portsmouth and Pagham for the Past 2500 Years. Part 2, Chapter 2. Pages 2-2-2 to 2-2-31. Unpublished text with figures by Major Hume Wallace (ret.). "The fact that there was a depression in the otherwise shallow seabed off Selsey East Beach, used as a summer anchorage by several hundred fishing boats and pleasure craft, was brought to our attention by air photographs in 1968, as detailed in the previous chapter, which also gives the reasons for believing that this was the estuary of the River Lavant, before that river was diverted westward through Chichester into Chichester Harbour by the Romans... Here we set out the additional evidence that it was indeed a river valley, dating back at least two glaciations, revealed by our underwater investigations which were started as soon as we had seen the photos... These investigations were usually combined with those in the Mixon gorge, which we dived at slack water two hours before low, and then on our way back to our embarkation point at the north end of East Beach, we would drift dive NE with the tide up the anchorage. By these means we built up over several years the picture of this former estuary and its remarkable seasonal changes..." [continues]...About 100 yards offshore he found the remains of Beacon House and a hollow brick pillar. The son of the head gardener of the house told him "That will be the base of the gallows tree where they hanged me grandfather, for killing a preventative man with a cutlass in the last great battle between the Selsey men and the Preventatives"... The most exciting of the finds in this [Ipswichian Interglacial] deposit came in 1957, when the erosion of the raised beach, and the modern beach derived from it, exposed a rhinoceras skeleton in pit on the low tide line, only visible at the lowest Springs, so there was a great rush to examine it and excavate it while the opoportunity lasted. [The rhinoceras bones are in the Natural History Museum. E.M. Venables interpreted the remains as those of a deadfall pit which Wallace discusses as due to Neandethal hunting. Location of a mammoth find is also given.]
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Prestwich, J. 1846. On the Tertiary or Supracretaceous formations of the Isle of Wight etc. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, vol. 2, 255-259. By Joseph Prestwich, with a plate. [contains a classic description of the Alum Bay cliff section.]

Prestwich, J. 1857. On the correlation of the Eocene Tertiaries of England, France and Belgium. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 13, pp. 105, 115, 118-126, 131.

Prestwich, J. 1854. On the structure of the strata between the London Clay and the Chalk in the London and Hampshire Tertiary Systems. Part II. The Woolwich and Reading Series. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 10, 75-170. [By Joseph Prestwich]

Prestwich, J. 1872. On the presence of a raised beach at Portsdown Hill near Portsmouth and on the occurrence of a flint implement at a high level at Downton. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 28, 3841.

Prestwich, J. 1883. Notes relating to some of the Drift phenomena of Hampshire: 1. Boulders, Hayling Island; 2. Chert debris in the Hampshire gravel; 3. Elephant Bed, Freshwater Gate. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 52nd Meeting at Southampton in August, 1882. Transactions of Section C, pp. 529-530. By Professor Joseph Prestwich, M.A., F.R.S., F.G.S.    
"In this paper the author draws attention to a few points which have either escaped notice or on which he would put a different construction. 1. The remarkable boulders of crystalline and other old rocks of Pagham were noticed long ago by Mr. Dixon and Mr. Godwin-Austen; and Mr. Codrington has more recently described similar boulders in the gravel of Portsea Island. Those of Hayling Island have not yet been noticed; nevertheless they are very numerous. The author describes two of granite and three of sandstone of large size on the shore near the railway station, and states that he counted thirty smaller ones in a mile to the westward of the station. The greater number, however, of those ou the shore facing South Hayling village seem to have been collected to form rockwork in the Grotto grounds and in the grounds of Westfield House. Amongst them are boulders of granite, syenite, porphyry, slate, and sandstone. They are found scattered in lesser numbers all over the island, embedded in the flint gravel and loam which overlies London clay. Mr. Godwin-Austen considered that the Sussex boulders might be derived from an old coast now submerged in the area of the British Channel, but the author sees reason to believe that they are more probably derived from the coast of Devon and Cornwall. A large fragment of siIicified Portland wood has been described by the Rev. O. Fisher from Pagham, and the author saw in Hayling Island a piece above two feet in length of well-characterised Portland wood. The granites and other rocks, though not yet determined, seem to resemble West of England rocks, and he saw none of the characteristic granite of Cherbourg amongst the boulders. Further, the author found at Stubbington Cliff and Hill Head nnmerous quartzite pebbles similar to those of the Budleigh conglomerate. He concludes therefore that the boulders were carried here by ice at the time the old Raised beach of Brighton, Portland, and the Devon coast, and that their absence in the intermediate area is due to the destruction of the beach and the wear back of the of the old coast line, except at a few spots where, with remnants of the beach, the boulders have been preserved..."[continues]

Prestwich, J. 1892. The raised beaches and "head" or pebble drift of the south of England. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 48, 263-343.

Prestwich, J. 1892. The Solent River. Geological Magazine, 35, 349-351.

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Dr Ian West, author of these webpages

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Ian West, M.Sc. Ph.D. F.G.S.

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at his private address, Romsey, Hampshire, kindly supported by Southampton University,and web-hosted by courtesy of iSolutions of Southampton University. The website does not necessarily represent the views of Southampton University. The website is written privately from home in Romsey, unfunded and with no staff other than the author, but generously and freely published by Southampton University. Field trips shown in photographs do not necessarily have any connection with Southampton University and may have been private or have been run by various organisations.