November I5th, 1894.




Vide paper on "Some new sections in the Hessle gravels" by F. F. WALTON, F.G.S., in Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological and Polytechnic Society. New Series. Vol. XII. Part V. P. 396.


These sections are exposed by the quarrying of gravel and sand in a field between Southfield and the Ferriby road and adjoining Woodfield Lane, Hessle. The gravel is in layers of varying thickness, separated by beds of sand, and is contorted in places but generally inclining towards the ancient Chalk Cliff, and is composed of chalk and flint fragments, usually of small size but the flints are occasionally as large as 3 in. cube, both are angular and are not water-worn. The sand is composed principally of clean rounded grains, and is similar to that from Sewerby cliff. These layers and the ancient Chalk Cliff itself are covered with the Hessle Boulder Clay, averaging about 4 feet in thickness, the under surface of which is very uneven and filling up hollows apparently left in the gravels by the melting of ice or other glacial action. The general characteristic of these gravels appear to me to suggest that they are of the same age as the pre-glacial deposits banked up against the buried Cliff at Sewerby.


During the year 1895 extensive excavations have been carried on in these gravels, in the large pit at Southfield, Hessle; especially in a North and North Westerly direction. So far the greatest depth reached is about thirty feet, although the average depth is about twenty-five feet.


A trial pit has recently been commenced near the edge of the pre-glacial cliff of Holderness, going down for about twelve feet almost entirely through sandy gravel, the bedding of which lies against the cliff at an angle of about 45°. The gravel in this pit, nearest the chalk face, contains a large proportion of fairly large flints, and is also much more firmly cemented together. The boulder clay above this thins off considerably; the lower portion being irregular and showing a lenticular patch of sand between it and the gravel.


Three other trial pits have been made, a little to the North of the large pit, which extend in a line from West to East. The western most one is dug through sandy gravel with much chalk and flint; the flints are large some of them being over a foot in length. From the appearance of the gravel here the excavation must be near the Chalk Cliff. The middle pit, which is about twelve feet deep, is much more sandy and there are no large flints. The third and most easterly passes through about twelve feet of clean sand; there being no gravel in it. With the exception of the lower jaw of a horse, no bones have been found in the gravel for some time; though numerous additions have been made to the list which appears in the paper already referred to. Up to the present, remains of the following animals have been found in these gravels: Equus caballus (Horse) Bos primigenius (Urns) Cervus sp ? (Deer).


No foreign pebbles, with the exception of one or two small quartzites, have been found in these gravels until quite recently (March, 1896) when in the northwest corner of the pit at a depth of twenty-three feet about forty water-worn pebbles have been dug up; these consist of quartzites, basalt, sandstones, etc., the relative proportion being shewn in the following table:-




No. found.




40 per cent.



15 per cent.

Secondary Sandstone


2.5 per cent.



10 per cent.



17.5 per cent.

Water-worn flint


2.5 per cent.



12.5 per cent.





These pebbles, which were found within a small area vary from one to three inches in diameter and are distinctly water-worn. They exhibit no evidence of ice action and in shape are identical with ordinary beach pebbles.


The photograph kindly taken for the Society by Mr F. Appleyard, shows the layer of boulder clay overlying the gravel and containing many far-travelled stones in addition to those from the immediate neighbourhood. Beneath the boulder clay is the gravel and sand known as the Hessle gravels, the upper portion being disturbed and contorted by the action of the ice which deposited the boulder clay. It is in this gravel and sand that the mammalian remains are found. The boulder clay covering the gravels is that known as the Hessle Clay and is the uppermost of the boulder clays found in Holderness. It follows therefore that the animals whose remains are found in the gravels must have existed in this district at the very latest before the last boulder clay of the Glacial Period was deposited. They were probably deposited here some considerable time before they were covered by the boulder clay, but the evidence on this point is not yet complete.


The thanks of the Society are due to Mr. Cook, the owner of the pits, for the facilities he has afforded for the investigation of these gravels.


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