THE YORKSHIRE NATURALISTS' UNION AT WITHERNSEA.
(editied version from an article originally published in the Naturalist in 1892)
On the occasion of this year's visit to the coast-line, Withernsea being the centre of operations, the Union were much indebted in every way to their Hull members, both as regards the assistance they rendered to the Secretaries in making the preliminary arrangements and as regards their taking a full share in the excursion itself. The excursion was planned for the investigation of that portion of the Holderness coast which extends from Sand-le-Mere southward to Dimlington High Land. The day being Bank Holiday Monday, the 1st of August, and there being but one way of access to the district, all members had to mingle at Hull and its suburban stations with many thousands of day trippers travelling by a number of relief trains which did not stop at intermediate stations. One unexpected result of this was that it was found impracticable to carry out the arrangements for a party to investigate the woods at Old Winestead, it being impossible to ascertain in the crowded stations at Hull either what members wished to join that party or which of the trains was the ordinary one which was to stop at Winestead station.
On arrival at Withernsea station the other two parties which had been arranged set off after a short delay. One of these was as customary the geological one, and was in charge of Mr. Alfred Harker, M.A., F.G.S., who conducted his followers southward to Holmpton, and thence along the cliff to Dimlington, returning from thence to Withernsea along the beach, the tide being favourable, low water being at 2 p.m. A small party of naturalists followed them at a respectful distance and on the return accompanied them for a portion of the distance. Both of these parties were alike interested in the sections of the lacustrine beds shown in the cliffs of Boulder Clay, evidencing the former existence of a chain of lakes of which Hornsea Mere is now the only one left, and in which, thousand of years old as they are, are to be found in great profusion the shells of various freshwater mollusca and the remains of fish of species now to be found alive in that Mere. …
All parties, including various late-comers who were unable to reach Withernsea in time to join the main parties, congregated about half-past four in the afternoon, in the large refreshment room attached to the Pier Hotel, Withernsea. Here, after a substantial though plainly-served meat tea, the sectional, and afterwards the general, meetings were held.
At the general meeting, in the absence of the President and Vice-Presidents, Mr. John James Stead, of Heckmondwike, was voted to the chair. The minutes having been taken as read, the roll of Societies was called over, when it was found that the fifty or sixty members present were representatives from the following Societies, fifteen in number: — Barnsley, Wakefield, Liversedge, Goole, Leeds Naturalists' Club, Conchological Society, Leeds Geological Association, Bradford Scientific Association, Halifax, Huddersfield, Ravensthorpe, and all the three Hull Societies. A couple of new members having been duly elected, Mr. John Stears, the Secretary of the Hull Field Naturalists' Society, proposed, Mr. J. J. Marshall, of Market Weighton, seconded, and the meeting cordially accepted, a vote of thanks to the various leaders of parties and contributors of information to the excursion-programme, as well as to Messrs. Walter Bailey, James Reckitt, G.W. Dickinson, Thomas Holden, George Clark, Edward Clark, and J. Biglin, for allowing members to pursue investigations on their lands. The spokesmen of the various sections were then called upon for their reports upon the day's results.
…. Mr. Alfred Harker, M.A., F.G.S., who reported in the absence of all the officers of the Geological Section, writes that the geological contingent found in the cliffs south of Withernsea ample opportunities for seeing something of the Glacial and Post-glacial history of the Holderness district, although time did not permit of a sufficiently detailed study of all the points of interest, and it would be difficult in a day's excursion to add anything material to what is known of this much-explored tract. The bulk of the party made their way by road to Out Newton, and, descending to the beach, examined the base of the cliffs at Dimlington High Land. This is one of the few places where the lowest or Basement Boulder-clay is exposed. The peculiarities of this clay, and especially the evidences of the grinding action of the ice as seen in the crushing and rolling out of boulders, were here studied. The general character of the boulders themselves was noted. Besides the rocks found in place along the coast to the north, the Carboniferous beds of Teesdale and the higher districts were well represented, while such rocks as the augite-syenite and 'Rhombenporphyr' of the Christiania district, with gneisses, garnetiferous mica schists, and granites, indicated the foreign origin of part of the material. Shell-fragments were found occurring frequently in this Basement-clay, and Mr.Stather, who had come down at an earlier hour, found good specimens of several shells, such as Astarte borealis, A. compressa (?), A. sulcata, fragments of Cyprina islandica, Tellina baltica (?), Dentalium, and Balanus. Waterworn Cardium echinatum (?), Saxicava rugosa and Turritella erosa, were also among the finds. The Basement-clay occupies about 20 ft. of the cliff at Dimlington, and is succeeded by well-bedded loam and gravel, reaching an unusual thickness up to 20 ft. Above this come the Purple Clays and higher deposits which are better studied farther north, and were well seen as the party returned to Withernsea by the coast. The Basement-clay sinks below the beach at Out Newton, and for most of the way the lower part of the cliffs is occupied by the Purple Clay. The chalky base of this was studied at several points, and the division into an Upper and Lower Purple Clay, marked usually by a more or less laminated band, was also noted. Here the Norwegian boulders are perhaps less abundant, while the coming-in of occasional Lake District rocks seems to be another point of difference from the Basement Clay. The Shap granite and the porphyritic lava of Eycott were found. Above the Purple Clay the Hessle gravels and sands seem to be fairly constant along this line, while the red Hessle Clay * generally forms the uppermost part of the cliffs. In several places, however, the well-known lacustrine deposits belonging to a much more recent date were observed. A fine example occupies the low cliffs for some distance to the north of Out Newton. Here occur fresh-water marls to a thickness of eight or ten feet, crowded with shells. Spharium corneiim, Pisidium sp.. Valvata piscinalis, Limncea peregra, etc., were found, besides fish-vertebras. Above the marl come peaty layers to a thickness of two or three feet, the lower bands being largely compacted masses of leaves and wood. Another large lacustrine deposit, showing a somewhat similar section, was examined immediately north of Nevill's Drain. Here too were found abundant Limncea peregra, besides occasional L. stagnalis (?), Planorbis complanatus, etc.
Throughout the day's journey the evidences of the waste of the cliffs was prominently exhibited. The defences erected at Withernsea some twenty years ago, seem to have accelerated the destruction of the coast-line to the immediate south, by cutting off the supply of beach-material travelling from the north, which should constitute to some extent a natural protection to the cliffs.
The meeting then concluded with a unanimous vote of thanks to the chairman, proposed by Mr. Edwin Hawkesworth, of Leeds, and an announcement of the Fungus Foray at Malton, and meeting at Coxwold in September, after which the members made their way to the railway station, and proceeded by the 6.28 train to Hull, en route for their various destinations.— W. D. R
[editors note - the "Hessle Till" has been
shown to be a weathered layer not a separate Till]
[editors note - the "Hessle Till" has been shown to be a weathered layer not a separate Till]
Hull Geological Society 2020
(republished from The Naturalist with permission of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union.)