Notes compiled by Gerald Lucy for Essex Field Club Website
Part of a submerged forest,
about 6,000 years old, is exposed on the Thames foreshore at Rainham Marsh. The
forest, consisting of fallen tree trunks and roots, is of Neolithic age, a time
when sea level was much lower. Following the end of glacial conditions some
10,000 years ago, alluvium (silts and clays with seams of sand and gravel) was
laid down by the River Thames on its floodplain. Trees colonised the mud flats
when there were minor temporary falls in sea level and died when sea level
rose. The site has educational importance in the interpretation of sea level
changes since the end of glacial conditions some 10,000 years ago, and how this
relates to our current concerns about global warming.
A written record of this site was made in 1712 by Reverend William Dereham,
Vicar of Upminster. There are other submerged forests along the Thames (e.g. at
Purfleet nearby and on the other side of the river at Erith) some of which were
studied as early as 1665.
The sea wall footpath (Havering Riverside Path) passes near the site. Rainham
Railway Station is about 2 miles distant. The submerged forest can only be seen
at low tide.
Rainham Submerged Forest, Essex at Low Tide
Layers of Peat at Low Tide
Rainham Submerged Forest:Tree Roots exposed at Low Tide
Rainham Submerged Forest:
Neolithic Flint Blade to left of GPS
Blade has been eroded out of submerged forest and washed up onto beach