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Hampen Formation

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Parent group:

Great Oolite



(166.1–168.3 Ma)


Great Oolite Group




[190.8-174.1 Ma*]


marl: a calcareous mudstone.



Image: Marlstone in hand specimen - £1 coin for scale (Ⓒ Dexter Brown)

* Ma is an abbreviation for million years


Previously known as the Marly beds (Woodward, 1894) these are limestones with subordinate interbedded marls.  


The Hampen Formation are characteristically grey to brown, thinly bedded, fine to very fine-grained, well-sorted, ooidal grainstone to packstone, commonly slightly sandy or silty, with small-scale cross-bedding.


Thickness of Formation

The vertical thickness of this formation ranges from 4 to 11 metres.  


Depositional environment:

The Hampen Formation  was deposited on a shallow shelf fringing the shore of the London Landmass to the east. Three principal facies can be recognised:

  • a nearshore lagoonal region, dominated by clastic sediments, with faunal and floral evidence of periodic brackish and freshwater influence;

  • a shallow marine, more offshore region dominated by oyster reefs, where clastic and carbonate sediments intermix;

  • a deeper, more fully marine area further offshore, where the carbonate sediments and their marine fauna are identical to those of the overlying White Limestone Formation.

Landform contribution:

The Hampen formation tends to form hollows between the more resistant, harder units of the Taynton Limestone Formation below and the White Limestone Formation above.


Vertically the Hampen formation has a limestone and marl, resting sharply on the upper ooidal grainstone of the Taynton Limestone Formation.  The upper boundary is more diffuse with the White Limestone Formation.  Laterally the Hampen Formation passes into a very shallow marine-paralic in the Rutland Formation.  Westwards it passes into the upper parts of the Fuller's Earth Formation.  


Spatial distribution:

North Cotswold Hills.  


Type/reference sections:

The type section and reference sections are all located in neighbouring Gloucestershire.  



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