Welcome to GeoEssex

The rocks beneath the Essex landscape are a record of the county’s prehistory. They provide evidence for ancient volcanoes, deserts, glaciers and deep seas. Some rocks also contain remarkable fossils, from subtropical sharks and crocodiles to Ice Age hippos and mammoths. The geology of Essex is a story that stretches back over 100 million years. This website provides an introduction to the geology of Essex, lists the best sites to visit and provides information on organisations and literature where you can find out more.

A spectacular chalk cliff at Chafford Gorges Nature Park, Thurrock. The cliff represents a section through an ancient sea floor that existed across England about 80 million years ago. Photo © G. Lucy.

About GeoEssex

GeoEssex is the primary source of information about the geology and physical landscape of Essex. The GeoEssex team, or ‘Steering Group’, consists of professional and amateur geologists, representatives from local authorities, geological and natural history societies, and from Natural England, the Government’s nature conservation body. If you would like more information about joining the GeoEssex Steering Group and to contact us, please click here.

GeoEssex promotes geology in all its aspects, from quarries, cliffs and boulders to spas, springs and building stones. The fascinating and often magical world of geology is all around us, if only we know where to look. Visit our Essex Geology pages to learn more about the underlying history of the county. Our Further Information section has various downloads, resources and links for further reading and research.

A primary task of GeoEssex is to identify the best places in Essex to find out about the Earth’s distant past and the landscape processes going on today. These sites are called Local Geological Sites, or LoGS (formerly called Regionally Important Geological Sites or RIGS). For more information about geological sites in Essex visit the Sites section of this website. Our work also includes creating a Local Geodiversity Action Plan for Essex – learn more about this on our Geodiversity page.

Field Trips

Visits to Essex geological sites are arranged each year in conjunction with the Essex Rock and Mineral Society and the Essex Field Club. Most are open to the general public and others are conservation days where volunteers help to create or improve access to sites.

Events and activities are advertised on the societies’ websites:

Essex Rock & Mineral Society: www.erms.org

Essex Field Club: www.essexfieldclub.org.uk

Bands of volcanic ash are preserved in the cliffs at Walton-on-the-Naze from volcanoes that were erupting in Scotland 50 million years ago. Photo © Ian Mercer.