Walking in the Jurassic

Even Cambridgeshire Walks hates muddy boots. Amble anywhere around St Ives during a wet winter and you're going to encounter sticky clay. When you do, look down with fascination rather than distaste. You may be walking through a Jurassic sea bed laid down 150 million years ago.

That sea was tropical, warm and full of life. Ammonite, belemnite and devil's toenail fossils are quite common finds. Less common are the remains of plesiosaurus and ichthyosaur. If the clay contains rock and gravel, it's more likely you're walking through glacial till deposited 12,000 years ago. There's lots of information about the topography of our area at Land Information.

We talk about clay mud being thick, but the material it comprises is anything but. Clay is made up of very fine particles. Unlike more sandy soils, it doesn't allow water to drain through easily. Result? Mud that is really sticky. It does have its uses, primarily for brick making. If you're thinking pottery or facial mud pack, don't try it. Other types of clay are used.

Feel better now about those muddy boots? Didn't think so.

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