The CGS are currently preparing a programme of 10 talks running from September 2021 to June 2022. These talks are held on the second Monday of every month and are at 7.30 pm unless specified otherwise. Due to the current COVID restrictions these talks are being held on ZOOM and are free – although donations are welcome! Talks are recorded but the recorded version is only available to members as part of their membership benefits.
The full programme is available on our EVENTS page. The next lecture will be held on Monday 13th September at 7.30pm.
Monday 14th February 2022 7.30pm
(by ZOOM – please register by contacting us)
The Geology of the Chilterns and the impact of HS2
Dr. Haydon Bailey, University of Birmingham and Geological Adviser, The Chiltern Society
The Chiltern Hills are underlain by Chalk, predominantly what was traditionally called the Middle Chalk (now the lower part of the White Chalk Group) capped by the Top Rock – Chalk Rock complex. It is this series of chalk hardgrounds which effectively forms the spine of the Chiltern Escarpment. The Chalk dips gently into the London Basin, and the overlying basal Tertiary succession provides minor outliers around this northern rim of the basin. The other major geological event we have to recognise in this area is the re-routing of the Proto-Thames River during and following the Anglian glaciation, some 450,000 years ago. This created the landscape we currently see in much of the southern parts of the Chilterns. The planned route of the HS2 fast rail link passes straight across the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the geology underlying this region needs to be considered carefully whilst tunnelling is being carried out; some concerns will be raised regarding the tunnelling proposed under the Chilterns, the geology it will encounter and it’s impact on the surrounding AONB.
Field Trip Report – Burwell Local Geological Sites
The society organises occasional field trips to view important geological sites within the county and hopefully further afield in post pandemic times. These trips are primarily for our members.
In early summer 2021 we had a popular visit to the Burwell Local Geological Sites and are scheduling some others to East Pit, Cherry Hinton, a walk along the Fen Edge from Swaffham Bulbeck to Reach, a visit to Nine Wells chalk spring and a tour of the building stones of Cambridge city center. These are primarily for the benefit of members: any member wishing to participate should contact us.
A write up for this trip may be found here.
Two New Walk Guides published on the Fen Edge Trail
Earith to Needingworth: Partly following the River Great Ouse, the walk takes you through a gentle landscape that does not resemble the large, ’Ice Age’, braided river that formed the lower part of the valley as it reached the fenland basin. Extensive research by Cambridge Archaeological Unit has revealed many significant cultural sites showing that people adapted to changing water levels over the last few thousand years, in a dynamic delta-like landscape. The furthest extent of the sea incursion c.3,400 years ago, during the Bronze Age, saw marine conditions extend to just south of Earith and waterways were possibly tidal much further inland.
Sutton to Haddenham: This walk passes over North Hill, the highest hill in the Cambridgeshire Fens, in the south west of the Isle of Ely. Prior to the major draining of the Fens in the 17th century, the Isle was surrounded by freshwater marshes and meres. This walk follows ancient droves and ways, alongside the Catchwater Drain, around the edge of the Isle linking these historic villages that sit on key promontories where, once, our ancestors sat and looked out across marshes or, sometimes, even sea.
Our December 2021 newsletter is now available to members.
Our previous newsletters are available to everyone (download below). They have plenty of ideas for some virtual geology!
Sign up for our email updates to hear about future talks, events and news of our projects.
Cambridgeshire has a fascinating landscape and an interesting geology. See our Landscapes page for more details and download the excellent leaflet ‘The Mapping of Landscapes, Geology and Soils of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire’ by Timothy Farewell, Peter Friend, Martin Whiteley and Joanna Zawadzk.
© Cambridgeshire Geological Society