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Great Culand Pit | by Nexus - Richard Wilkinson
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Great Culand Pit

The Culand pits are two large former chalk pits situated on the North Downs to the north of Maidstone.

 

The original land was used for arable crops, before chalk quarrying began in the mid 1800s. Rapid expansion of the cement industry in the Medway valley led to rapid excavation of the pits, where work finished sometime between 1910 and 1937. The chalk, particularly from Great Culand, was often quarried by hand which meant that large numbers of fossils were preserved. One of the principle scientific interests is the richness and variety of the fossils, particularly of fish species. Much of the material is superb: the fish are usually articulated, and are the subject of much research. The Lower and Middle chalk has been an important source of reptile fossils including turtles, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, pterosaurs and the type specimen of a lizard (Delichosaurus).

 

During WWII at least the Lower Culand pit, if not both, were used for live firing exercises by the army. For many years after the war the pits were used for informal bike and car rallying which would have helped in reducing scrub and tree invasion.

  

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Taken on February 8, 2009