If you would like to help with the development on this part of the Trail, please get in touch.
For a key to the geology see the British Geological Survey map viewer.
The island of Whittlesey has some of the most interesting geology of the fenland and this, combined with the internationally significant archaeological site of Must Farm, makes it a very important part of the Fen Edge. Its position in the ‘valley’ of the River Nene, the extensive deposits of ‘Ice Age’ gravels that form the ‘island’ and the underlying Oxford Clay that has been extensively quarried for brick-making, all contribute to a complex and fascinating geological story. In addition, some of the important Jurassic fossils found here in the Oxford Clay have become world famous, contributing significantly to our understanding of this period of earth’s history. This is also the place to see the locally characteristic ‘mud walls‘, some of which have their own thatched roofs!
If you fancy going fossil hunting, you can do so at the Kings Dyke Nature Reserve where Jurassic Oxford Clay has been quarried for use in the famous brickworks next door. The Reserve gives you the chance of finding your own piece of Jurassic wildlife from the ‘spoil heaps’ that the company provide for the public to search through. Information boards give details of the fossils and the current wildlife living at the reserve. There are also great views of the brickworks as you walk down to the fossil area and you can see the quarry where some historic finds were made – now in Peterborough Museum.
In 1994, a new genus of pliosaur was discovered at Kings Dyke quarry, by Alan Dawn, from Peterborough Museum. Largely complete, the skull and cervical vertebrae were almost perfectly preserved. This was Pachycostasaurus dawnii and provided new data on plesiosaurian evolution.
Kings Dyke is adjacent to the fantastic Must Farm Bronze Age site – which reveals some of the recent (Holocne) geological and landscape history of the area.
© Cambridgeshire Geological Society