Bolter End Sand Pit SSSI

Bucks County Council administration area: Wycombe District Council; Buckinghamshire County Council.

Grid reference: SU 799 919

Area of site: 0.33 ha; 0.81 acres

Access, location and parking: The site is 5 km west of High Wycombe and is reached via a track off the B482. Parking is on the immediately adjacent Bolter End Common.

Site description: Disused sand pit with overgrown and degraded slopes.

Geological interpretation: Reading Beds sands forming part of the Lane End outlier. This is one of a few outliers in the area of Palaeogene (Tertiary) age, approximately 53 million years old. These sediments rest unconformably on the dip slope of the Chalk. The Reading Beds of Bolter End (and Lane End) are not typical of the ‘usual’ Reading Beds lithology. The pebble content is quite different (with provenance implications) and it also includes mud clast breccias. The lithology of this deposit is flint with pebbles of quartz, quartzite and lydite. Petrology and sedimentological studies over the years have indicated that this outlier represents a fluvial sequence and it is important for palaeogeographical reconstructions as the source appears to come from Lower Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic sequences.

Current and potential educational  use (geology, ecology, archaeology, industrial archaeology): No current use is made of the site for educational purposes. Due to its restricted size, position on private land and condition of overgrowth it has little potential for educational development. The interest is in the research and Earth Science heritage conservation aspects.

Conservation interest: To maintain the integrity of the potential geological resource.

Threats to site (present and future): Infill would be the major threat to the site, but also damage to the sedimentary structures of the sands by tree root penetration. The sites integrity is maintained under the SSSI notification.

Constraints (basic risk assessment): (not assessed)

Reference list/bibliography:

Woolridge, S. W. and Ewing , C. J. C. 1935. The Eocene and Pliocene deposits of Lane End, Buckinghamshire. Q. Jl. Geol. Soc. Lond. 91, 293-317.

Recommendations: File information. Not suitable for visits at present.