WGCG Suffolk Field trip 15-17th September 2023  by Frances Morley

We assembled in Saxmundham Market Hall on Friday evening to meet our leader for the weekend, Tim Holt-Wilson. Despite problems with the projector, he delivered an interesting and informative talk about the geology of Suffolk, setting the scene for the field trip.

Whilst walking to the next location, we passed the impressive ruins of a 14th century church ( St Andrew’s today ) and deviated to explore it and take photographs. We then enjoyed a well-deserved pub lunch in the sunshine!

Shingle Street was an amazing shingle spit with ridges showing storm events. It is a really good example of the constantly changing coastline.

Tim had booked a table for lunch in a pub in Orford, which was very pleasant. An added attraction for several people was the pub’s proximity to a local specialist chocolate shop!

On returning to our cars, we parted company and made our ways home. Altogether, a very enjoyable and informative weekend!

Saturday was a warm, sunny day perfect for being on a beach looking at cliffs.  Here, flint tools showing the earliest recorded human activity in N.Europe were found a few years ago. 

Later we visited the old walls of Greyfriars Priory at Dunwich, which were constructed of a great variety of stones. There are local beach flints as well as Baltic flints which came to Suffolk as ballast on trading ships. Other stones include sandstone, chalk, dolerite and granite. It was most interesting to study these with a hand lens. Saturday finished with an excellent group dinner at a welcoming local pub.

Sunday was cloudy and therefore a little cooler than Saturday, but dry! At Bawdsey, beneath cliffs of clay and Red Crag, we all found pieces of fossil wood. One member of the group found a fossil shark tooth, but despite much searching by the rest of us, no more were found.

The last site of the field trip was reached by a long walk through attractive woodland to a nature reserve. It was a beautiful location, set in heathland. We were able to climb the sandy cliffs and find small fossils.