Cromer Forest Bed

The Cromer Forest Bed is a geological formation in Norfolk, England. It consists of river gravels, estuary and floodplain sediments predominantly clays and muds as well as sands along the coast of northern Norfolk.[1] It is the type locality for the Cromerian Stage of the Pleistocene between 0.8 and 0.5 million years ago.,[2] The deposit itself range varies in age from about 2 to 0.5 million years ago. It is about 6 metres thick and is exposed in cliff section near the town of West Runton. For over a century the bed, named after the local town of Cromer, has been famous for its assemblage of fossil mammal remains, containing the diverse remains of numerous taxa, including deer,[3] carnivorans[4] and birds.[5] Although most of the forest bed is now obscured by coastal defence, the Cromer Forest Bed continues to be eroded and is rich in fossils including the skeletal remains of the West Runton Mammoth which was discovered in 1990.[6][7][8][9] The oldest human footprints outside Africa, the Happisburgh footprints as well as handaxes and bison bones with cut marks were also found in layers considered to belong to this deposit near the town of Happisburgh.[10]

Cromer Forest Bed
Stratigraphic range: Pleistocene 2–0.5 Ma
West Runton Beach 13 January 2007 (1).JPG
Cromer Forest Bed exposed at the base of the West Runton Cliffs
TypeGeological formation
Unit ofDunwich Group
Sub-unitsSheringham Member, Runton Member, West Runton Member, Bacton Member
UnderliesMiddle Pleistocene glacial deposits
OverliesWroxham Crag Formation or unconformity with Chalk Group
ThicknessAbout 6 metres (20 ft)
PrimaryClay, Mud
Region Norfolk
Country England
Type section
Named forCromer
Named byR.G. West
LocationThe coast of North Norfolk from Weybourne to Happisburgh
Year defined1980

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Cromer Forest-bed Formation". The BGS Lexicon of Named Rock Units. British Geological Survey.
  2. ^ Ashton, Nick (2017). Early Humans. London: William Collins. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-00-815035-8.
  3. ^ Lister, Adrian M. (1993). "The stratigraphical significance of deer species in the cromer forest-bed formation". Journal of Quaternary Science. 8 (2): 95–108. Bibcode:1993JQS.....8...95L. doi:10.1002/jqs.3390080202.
  4. ^ Lewis, Mark; Pacher, Martina; Turner, Alan (December 2010). "The larger Carnivora of the West Runton Freshwater Bed". Quaternary International. 228 (1–2): 116–135. Bibcode:2010QuInt.228..116L. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2010.06.022.
  5. ^ Harrison, C. J. O. (May 1979). "Birds of the Cromer Forest Bed Series of the East Anglian Pleistocene" (PDF). Transactions of the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists' Society. 24: 277–287.
  6. ^ NY Times
  7. ^ Guardian News
  8. ^ Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (1931)
  9. ^ Stuart, Anthony J.; Lister, Adrian M. (December 2010). "Introduction: The West Runton Freshwater Bed and the West Runton Mammoth". Quaternary International. 228 (1–2): 1–7. Bibcode:2010QuInt.228....1S. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2010.07.035.
  10. ^ Ashton, Nick; Lewis, Simon G.; De Groote, Isabelle; Duffy, Sarah M.; Bates, Martin; Bates, Richard; Hoare, Peter; Lewis, Mark; Parfitt, Simon A.; Peglar, Sylvia; Williams, Craig (7 February 2014). Petraglia, Michael D. (ed.). "Hominin Footprints from Early Pleistocene Deposits at Happisburgh, UK". PLOS ONE. 9 (2): e88329. Bibcode:2014PLoSO...988329A. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088329. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3917592. PMID 24516637.

Further readingEdit

  • Bowen, D.Q., 1978, Quaternary geology: a stratigraphic framework for multidisciplinary work. Pergamon Press, Oxford, United Kingdom. 221 pp. ISBN 978-0-08-020409-3
  • West, R.G., 1980, The pre-glacial Pleistocene of the Norfolk and Suffolk Coasts Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-21962-0
  • Ehlers, J., P. L. Gibbard, and J. Rose, eds., 1991, Glacial deposits in Great Britain and Ireland Balkema, Rotterdam. 580 pp ISBN 978-90-6191-875-2
  • Mangerud, J., J. Ehlers, and P. Gibbard, 2004, Quaternary Glaciations: Extent and Chronology 1: Part I Europe, Elsevier, Amsterdam. ISBN 0-444-51462-7
  • Sibrava, V., Bowen, D.Q, and Richmond, G.M., 1986, Quaternary Glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere, Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 5, pp. 1–514.

External linksEdit

Gibbard, P.L., S. Boreham, K.M. Cohen and A. Moscariello, 2007, Global correlation tables for the Quaternary, Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England.