June 2023

Geotrail from Sydenham to Dulwich (2023)

An eight kilometre walk from Sydenham Hill Station to West Dulwich Station to look at the Spas, Springs and Wells of South London. It goes through Sydenham Wells, Sydenham Hill Woods to Horniman Museum where there is a view through central London to the Hampstead ridge. After a lunch break the walk continues through Dulwich Park, past Dulwich Picture Gallery to Belair Park. This geotrail is dedicated to the memory of Paul Rainey who had the original idea.

Download this walk here

April 2023

Geoconservation at Gilbert’s Pit Report
A report on the Geoconservation Day that took place on Sunday 16 April 2023 at Gilbert’s Pit jointly run by OUGS London Branch and London Geodiversity Partnership.

It is important to maintain the sections at Gilbert’s Pit as they are much used by engineering geologists tunnelling under London who wish to see first-hand how variable the Lambeth Group is. Every two years we aim to clear brambles and scrub from both the east face and the more spectacular south face. Both had grown up since our previous meeting in 2021. An extra session in spring 2022 cleared gorse and broom at the top of the quarry and the face at the top of the steps to allow South Bank University engineering students a good view of the Woolwich Shell Bed and the Reading mottled clay. The top platform has to be cleared of scree and steps cleaned at every session.

August 2022

Reinstating Branch Hill Pond a progress report
The London Geodiversity Partnership has been working with the Redington Frognal Association to reinstate Branch Hill Pond on Hampstead Heath, made famous by Constable who included it in his paintings on many occasions between 1819-1836. In February we jointly mounted exhibitions at JW3 and in Burgh House, Hampstead outlining the project. Full details can be found here [link]

Sunday 4 July 2021

Geoconservation Day at Gilbert’s Pit: Find about more about, and enjoy some pictures of, our recent geoconservation day…and it didn’t rain while we were working, only before we arrived!

2nd March 2020

Burlington House Under Threat

Rents of the Learned Societies in Burlington House have risen 3000% since 2012 and are set to bankrupt them.  Burlington House was originally conceived to bring together major cultural and scientific learned societies.  Unless they can come to a reasonable agreement on affordable rents with the government, they will have to find alternative accommodation that will divert their precious resources.  The Geological Society, the Linnean Society, the Astronomical Society and the Antiquarian Society are all under threat.  An article in the Observer on Sunday 28 February highlighted the problem:, and the Geological Society of London launched a campaign with the other societies to reverse the rent rises. Conservative MP Tim Loughton is leading a cross-party group of MPs trying to secure a long-term deal for the societies with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The Geological Society outline ways in which members of the public can help with the campaign and anyone interested should follow that link:

16th November 2020

News from the Thames Tideway

Details on the geology from the chief geologist on the project, Dr Tim Newman

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a 25 km long stormwater storage tunnel, with an internal diameter of over 7 m; big enough to fit three London double decker buses side-by-side. Its route follows beneath the course of the River Thames, through central London, starting at 30 m below ground in Acton, west London, and reaching 65 m below ground at Thames Water’s Abbey Mills pumping staGon site in the east. Here it links up with the existing Lee Tunnel which continues towards Beckton at over 80 m below ground level.

Kensal Green Cemetery: in search of famous Geologists and Engineers

Presented for the Geologists’ Association Festival of Geology 2020 as a live trip during the Covid pandemic. In the event the trip had to be cancelled because of the second Lockdwown. Instead detailed walking instructions and information on those chosen have been written up. The tour is based round the monument to George Bellas Greenough in the 200th anniversary year of the publication of his geological map and many of the other tombstones selected are related to this event.

Devised by John Henry of the History of Geology Group and Diana Clements of the London Geodiversity Partnership with some details of the descriptions of the chosen heroes taken from publications by Eric Robinson and Henry Vivian-Neal.

Overground Underground meeting 4 September 2018 at University College London

30 people attended the meeting and many ideas for the future were put forward which will be incorporated into the 2019-2023 Action Plan which will be posted on the website after the LGP meeting in February.

Britain’s prehistoric coastline discovered in west London

HS2 excavation uncovers black clay deposit that indicates the west London suburb of Ruislip was once a woodland marsh by the sea.

Interpretation of the findings by LGP partner Dr Jacqueline Skipper reported in the Guardian on 16/3/2018 (on line)

Image taken from the Guardian:

Black clay deposit uncovered by the HS2 excavation

A transcript of the text can be read here

Riddlesdown Geoconservation Day

Richmond Park Geotrail 12 October 2016

For the last few years the London Geodiversity Partnership has chosen Earth Science Week to run a public Geotrail. This year we joined forces with the Friends of Richmond Park to walk round looking for small exposures, views and springs to discuss the geology of this very interesting area. There are four different rock types that we discussed and the walk has been written up as a geotrail that will shortly be published on the London Geodiversity Partnership website. About 30 people attended and seemed enthusiastic about the geology underfoot. We hope to return for a repeat excursion in 2017.

Photos from John Lock (Friends of Richmond Park):

Max Lancaster of the Friends of Richmond Park talking to us about the history of King Henry’s Mound viewpoint. We also discussed the geology of the views to St Paul’s in the east through the ‘pinhole’ protected view, and to Windsor Castle in the west.

Di Clements talking about the Pen Ponds lying on a fault line through the park. As ever, new information on the digging of the ponds was gleaned from the audience.

8 October 2016 – Riddlesdown Geoconservation Day

The London Geodiversity Partnership made the large Chalk Quarry at Riddlesdown the focus of its conservation day for 2016. The quarry is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation and Matt Johnson prepared the base for a bonfire for the face we were to clear. He also kindly provided tea and coffee.As in previous years we worked in conjunction with the London Branch of the Open University Geological Society and invited members of other London geological groups to join us. Before starting work, Liam Gallagher, a chalk expert, talked to the group about the chalk in general and put the importance of the pit in context . This is what the face in Riddlesdown looked like before we cleared it. The event appropriately fell during Earth Science Week, improving access for research and study. Look at this lovely clear face at the end of the day’s hard work! Well done, volunteers – much better access!!

For more photographs of the day including the marvellous bonfire see the LGP Flickr


A new App on London’s building stones, ‘London Pavement Geology’ is now available to download free from the iTunes App store, definitely for iPhone & iPad and for Android platforms too. It archives well over 1000 building stone localities within the M25. You can view these from the App and also submit new locations.

Both can be downloaded from our website via the links:

05/2016 New access at Gilbert’s Pit, Charlton unveiled on 18th May 2016

Gilbert’s Pit SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) at Charlton in Southeast London is one of a number of former quarries worked in this area for their sand, gravel and chalk. This pit was primarily worked for the Thanet Sand used for moulding at the Woolwich Arsenal foundries and glass manufacture. Notified as an SSSI in 1953 it represents the only permanent exposure in the Woolwich area of the Woolwich Formation.
Steps have been built up the east side of the quarry face. They represent the result of extensive partnership working between the London Geodiversity Partnership, Natural England and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The steps were jointly funded with a £10,000 grant from Natural England and £1,300 from Royal Borough of Greenwich who has overseen the project, providing a new gate, done tree felling and scrub clearance.
The LGP has organised volunteer workdays and given technical expertise, advising on which section to improve and helped scope the geotechnical survey undertaken by Capita Symonds.
Gilberts Pit steps

The steps were opened on Wednesday 18 May 2016 attended by representatives of Natural England, the London Geodiversity Partnership and Royal Borough of Greenwich Parks, Estates and Open Spaces Officers. The steps were “unveiled” in a ribbon-cutting event by Cllr John Fahy.
The photographs show the robust steps that will be able to be used by schools, geologists and be essential training for construction engineers. It provides a rare opportunity to encounter and understand the complex sediments that underlie much of London that can present significant challenges in strategic developments such as Crossrail. The platforms offer views of the disused workings where information boards are to be placed telling of the geology that can be seen.

Click here to download a pdf with more details and photos.


Geology on the Underground
Open University Geological Society members are actively on the lookout for ‘Stone on the Underground’.

If you know of any stations where decorative stone has been used, do please contribute by contacting

For a list of what has been spotted so far see List of Stations checked:


Geodiversity Charter for England launched. Click here for more details.


The Guide to London’s Geological Sites is now available here. Over 50 important geological sites are described and can be explored further here. A complete pdf of sites can also be downloaded.


Geology and its uses in Highgate Wood and Queen’s Wood

A small display is on public view in the information hut beside the restaurant in Highgate Wood. Four story boards tell the story of the rocks beneath the local area and how they have been utilised in the past. A Romano-British pottery was discovered in Highgate Wood and an experimental kiln produced pots using the underlying Claygate Beds at the top of the London Clay. Flint debitage has been found and Highgate Wood was once known as Gravel Pit Wood. Highgate Wood forms a plateau whereas the topography of Queen’s Wood is very incised. The display includes minerals and fossils found in the London Clay as well as one of the experimental pots made on site.

Click here to download more details.


Geoconservation at Chalky Dell
The London Geodiversity Partnership and London Branch of the Open University Geological Society arranged a geoconservation day at Chalky Dell. They were joined by members of London-based geology groups and local Conservation Volunteers from Lesnes Abbey and Shooters Hill.
Click here for more details and photos of the event.


The Geology of London GA Guide covers ten Itineraries from within the M25 to provide snapshots of the rocks underlying London. It aims to cover all the rocks types that crop out within the area.

Several SSSIs including Harefield, Charlton, Abbey Wood, and Quaternary sites in east London are described. Chalk is described from the magnificent quarry at Riddlesdown, Croydon as well as underground at Chislehurst and Pinner. Geomorphology walks and the Geological Illustrations of Crystal Palace Park are also described. It is a multi-authored guide drawing on the best authority for the locations chosen.

Click here for more details from the GA website.


London might not be an obvious destination for fossil lovers but here, Issy Gilbert, a palaeontology PhD student from Imperial College London, reveals the ancient world that can be found at some of London’s most famous destinations.


The Ilford Mammoth Plaque

In the 1860s numerous Pleistocene mammalian remains were discovered in Uphall brick-pit in Ilford. Amongst the finds there was a complete skull of a mammoth which is still on display in the Natural History Museum, London.

A plaque on Ilford Methodist church, Ilford Lane, which commemorated these finds had been installed during the 1951 Festival of Britain, but was stolen in January 2012.

In July 2012, a replacement plaque was installed by the British Pakistani Christian Association during the run-up to the London Olympics. Guest speakers at the unveiling were: Professor Adrian Lister (Natural History Museum London); William George (GeoEssex); and Terry Quirk (Ilford Mammoth Project).

Contributors to the design and text for the monument included: Ian Dowling – Local Historian for Ilford Central Library; Peter Collins ( London GeoDiversity Partnership); and the Natural History Museum Pictures Department and Palaeontology Department.


Glacial erratic found in East London
In June 2011, when members of the London Geodiversity Partnership and GeoEssex, were visiting Marks Warren Quarry near Romford, East London, they discovered a boulder that had been found within the sands and gravels of the quarry.

marks warren boulderSubsequent examination of the boulder by Graham Ward of GeoEssex confirmed that it was a glacial erratic composed of an igneous rock, dolerite, transported to the site by the Anglian ice sheet, some 450,000 year ago. The characteristics of the rock, which appears to be a quartz-hypersthene dolerite, indicate that it may well have been derived from the Great Whin Sill, a prominent scarp in Northumberland, much of which is composed of this rock type.

During the Anglian glaciation the ice sheet spread as far south as London bringing with it rocks from the north of England and, if the petrology of the rock is confirmed, this boulder would be one of the furthest travelled, having been transported some 300 miles from its origin. This boulder would then have been washed down into the Thames catchment, once the ice had retreated, and deposited in the sands and gravels of the Black Park terrace, found at the quarry.

Due to the kind efforts of the quarry operators, Brett Aggregates Ltd, the 0.9 tonne boulder has recently been transported a few miles to the Essex Wildlife Trust’s visitor centre at Bedfords Park, Havering, where it is on public display. Only a short journey this time, compared with its geological history!

More information on the Marks Warren quarry site can be found in London’s Foundation here


The London Geodiversity Partnership attended a conference on the Engineering Geology of the Olympics, and presented a poster that can be downloaded here.

Consequently we are now working with the Environment Agency to publicise the new geology found in the Olympic Park as a result of all the ground investigations.


Newly revised and updated, the latest version of the London Foundations Report has been published.

Please click here for more information.


UK Geodiversity Action Plan website goes live.
It is also great to see that within this the London Geodiversity Partnership is well represented as a contributor to the UKGAP: