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Geology and Geomorphology of the Lambourn Valley, Berkshire

Friday 6 March, 7.00pm-8.00pm, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Lesley Dunlop, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Northumbria University

The Lambourn Valley is perhaps most widely known as the Valley of the Racehorse with many stables based there making the most of the chalk downland for the training gallops. The valley runs for about 20km from the chalk escarpment of the Ridgeway into Newbury over bedrock of Cretaceous Chalk, and Palaeogene sands and clays. For about one-third of its length it is a dry valley and there are a network of dry valleys leading to it.  Geologically there are 3 SSSIs associated with chalk pits and demonstrating key features of Chalk stratigraphy. The Palaeogene sands have, in places, been hardened into silcretes (sarsens) and the Quaternary river terraces have been worked for gravel.

This talk will cover the general setting of the Lambourn and concentrate on some key research areas such as the fields of sarsens in the upper reaches of the valley and recent digital mapping and geophysical work to locate these. There are some peat deposits in an area of water meadows about halfway along its length and a range of techniques from geophysics, palynology and geochemical has been used to give an explanation for the evolution of this area.