Gravel Pits

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In 1984 a series of gravel pits were excavated which were subsequently flooded and became fishing lakes.

During their excavation a digger driver who was working around 5 - 6 metres below the surface and beneath the gravels, unearthed the skeletal remains of a mammoth that had died some 125,00 years ago.

The bones found included a shoulder blade, ribs, various limb bones and one spectacular tusk bearing its characteristic double curving twist. It appeared that the animal, which was about the size of a modern day Indian elephant, had probably become stuck in the mud and had died a lingering death. It's bones had then been scattered by predators and water currents.

The remains are deposited at Norwich Castle Museum in the care of the
Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

These older deposits below the gravels were laid down during a warmer period in the Ice Age around 125,000 years ago. Temperatures then were around 2 to 3 degrees warmer than present. The area was covered in oak and pine forest, with hornbeam and yew. A river flowed through the area as it does today and the fossil remains of a wide variety of animals were incorporated into its sediments. Many of the species are only found on the Continent today and some are extinct.

Investigations continued for around two years and produced a picture of a long lost rich habitat containing a diverse fauna. Fossils recovered included teeth and bones from fish, amphibians, snakes, shrews, mice, voles, bats, badger, wolf, giant deer, horse, bison, elephant and mammoth. Beetles, snails and bivalves plus seeds, wood and pollen were also in abundance.

Modern sightings around the lakes include moles, frogs, toads, foxes, otters, rabbits, hares and red deer.

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. By all means telephone 07836 675369 or

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