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Selection of Chalk RIGS in Kent PDF Print

The thirty RIGS designated by the end of 2005 provided good coverage of the rock types in Kent, especially Ragstone, with some Gault Clay, Sand and River Gravel sites, but only a few Chalk sites. However, the rock type most commonly associated with Kent is Chalk. This is probably because of the North Downs and the famous cliffs at Dover and Folkestone which are SSSIs.

When planning its programme of work for 2006 therefore, the Kent RIGS Group decided to concentrate on inland Chalk to supplement the SSSIs.

Chalk experts Professor Andy Gale and Dr David Wray were asked to review Chalk sites in Kent and to recommend sites suitable for designation as RIGS. Between August and December 2006 nineteen sites were visited of which ten were surveyed and reports were written to support submissions to the responsible local councils.

Factors that affected the designation of a site as a RIGS were:-

  • permission to visit the site must be obtainable and the site should have easy access if possible.
  • the site should have potential for academic research, education or leisure.

Other considerations were:-

  • a good distribution of locations across Kent would minimise the need to travel substantial distances to get to a site of interest.
  • designated sites should, as far as possible, provide good coverage of the stratigraphic range of the Chalk in Kent.

Geographical Distribution

The picture left shows an outline map of Kent with the Chalk exposure of the North Downs highlighted in green. The ten designated RIGS are superimposed as yellow circles and show that good geographical coverage of the Chalk is obtained.

Stratigraphical Distribution

The picture right shows the Cenomanian through to Santonian stages of the Cretaceous that cover the stratigraphic range of the Chalk in Kent. The picture shows that the ten designated sites give almost full coverage, with only two minor gaps in the White Chalk in the early and late Turonian stage.

Thus if one's interest is Plenus Marls, at the Cenomanian/Turonian boundary, then Peter's Pit and Halling Chalk Pit are the sites to visit.