Abbey Wood SSSI

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File:Abbey Wood SSSI.JPG
Abbey Wood SSSI
File:Abbey Wood 'Fossil Bed'.JPG
The Fossil Bed where members of the public are allowed to dig for fossils

Abbey Wood is a 6.3 hectare geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Abbey Wood in the London Borough of Bexley. It is located in Lesnes Abbey Woods south-east of the ruins of Lesnes Abbey. Members of the public can dig for fossils in a small area designated as the Fossil Bed with the permission of the Lesnes Abbey ranger.

The site is late Palaeocene<ref name =SSSI>Natural England Citation, Abbey Wood</ref> and early Eocene<ref name =GCR>Geological Conservation Review, Volume 16: Fossil Fishes of Great Britain, Chapter 14: British Cenozoic fossil fishes sites, Site: ABBEY WOOD (GCR ID: 2903), 1980-2007</ref> 50 to 60 million years ago. Important Palaeocene finds in the Blackheath Beds on the site include 22 species of mammals in 12 orders, which resemble the Wasatchian fauna of North America. It has also yielded one of only two Palaeocene birds found in Britain, the holotype of Marinavis longirostris, a large Procellariiform sea bird, and the site may throw light on Procellariiform/Pelecaniform evolution.<ref name = SSSI/>

Excavations of the site in the twentieth century produced a rich yield of Eocene mammals and many shark teeth. It is particularly important for fish, including 16 type specimens.<ref name=GCR/>

See also

  • List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Greater London
  • Lesnes Abbey Woods
  • Lesnes Abbey
  • Abbey Wood


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