Wednesday, 1 September 2010


On Tuesday we went to Sidmouth.  Part of the objective was to explore the rock pools but the tide was in - the web lied about the tide times.

This house on the cliff edge is a mere snip for £895,000.   It probably is not as near the edge as it appears and the estate agent's website shows it has a fascinating interior.  Nevertheless it's a bit too close to the drop for my liking.

Jacob's Ladder leads down from the clock tower to the beach.

Sidmouth lies within a wedge of the Otter Sandstone (245 - 235 million years old) exposed due to faulting to the west of the town that interrupts the general eastward dip of the rock layers on the Jurassic coast. Westward the Otter Sandstones disappear from the cliffs under Peak Hill replaced at beach level by the Mercia Mudstone group (235 - 204 million years old). Approaching Sidmouth from the west there is a fault that exposes the Otter Sandstones again and results in them suddenly appearing in the cliff face adjacent to the younger Mercia Mudstones. East of the town the eastward dip causes the Otter Sandstones to disappear again below beach level to be replaced by the Mercia Mudstones. Both sequences are red indicating they formed in an arid environment.

The Otter Sandstone at Sidmouth is particularly well known as a  source of Rhynchosaur fossils. These strange creatures grew to about 2m, walked on four legs and fed on plants that grew in the sandy river plains. They are described as mammal-like reptiles and have no close relative today. Although the fossils of Rhynchosaurs are very rare important specimens have been collected form the Otter Sandstone at Sidmouth and Ladram Bay. The Otter Sandstone is regarded as a globally important site for Triassic fossils.

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