Cothill/Dry Sandford Pit
Dry Sandford Pit is also known as Cothill Quarry (after the adjacent village). The site is located at NGR: SU 468 995 about 1.5 km south east from the junction of the B4017 and Honeybottom Lane in the village of Cothill. The entrance is ca. 80 m south west of the junction between Honeybottom Lane and Church Lane.
This site has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is therefore protected under law. It is forbidden to use a geological hammer on the exposures or to attemt to collect in situ fossil specimens.
British Geological Survey Maps:
1:50 000 253
Ordnance Survey Maps:
1:10 000 SU48NC
1:25 000 170
1:50 000 164
Why is Wicklesham important?
A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1981, Wicklesham Quarry, near Faringdon, Oxfordshire is of great historic and geological importance and is one of Britain's richest palaeontological localities. In addition to the bryozoans and sponges the deposits here have also in the past yielded turtle, ichthiosaur, plesiosaur and marine crocodile.
Controversy revolves around the future use of this former quarry site as the Faringdon Neighbourhood Plan is hotly debated.
The sediments of the Cretaceous, Lower Greensand Formation were deposited in a tidal strait some 114 million years ago (Aptian Age).
The palaeo-channel of this constrained seaway was scoured from the Jurassic bedrock and quickly colonised by bryozoa, sponges, brachiopods, bivalves and echinoids. Storm surges are thought to have periodically ripped the biota and regolith, mixing the sponges and bryozoans with Jurassic rock and fossil material to form the sponge gravels.
The sediments have a signature reddish-brown, ferruginous apperance and can be coarse or pebbly sands. In unweathered material the green mineral glauconite is present.
At Faringdon, Oxfordshire the Lower Greensand is untypically thick with approximately 20 metres of sponge gravels overlain by 30 metres of coarse sand.