Gilbert's Pit is a 5.2-hectare (13-acre) geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Charlton in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It was notified in 1985 and was formerly known as Charlton Sand Pit.[1] It is a Geological Conservation Review site.[2] It is also part of the Maryon Wilson Park and Gilbert's Pit Local Nature Reserve.[3][4] It adjoins Maryon Park and is close to Maryon Wilson Park.

Gilbert's Pit (Charlton)
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Gilberts Pit, London Borough of Greenwich, SE7 (2252315297).jpg
Area of SearchGreater London
Grid referenceTQ418786
Area5.2 hectares
Location mapMagic Map
Paleogene succession exposed in the old quarry face. The grey sand making up the lower two-thirds of the face is the Thanet Formation, This is overlain by the yellow-brown weathering sands of the Upnor Formation (the lower part of the Lambeth Group). The overlying Woolwich Formation consists of the distinctive light grey shell bed, followed by dark grey clays. The top of the slope has the distinctive black flint pebbles of the Harwich Formation (better known locally as the Blackheath Beds)
View north west from Cox's Mount at the top of Gilbert's Pit


There was a Romano-British settlement on Cox's Mount, the summit of Gilbert's Pit, between the first and fifth centuries. The area was part of the ancient Hanging Wood. The Pit was part of the estate of the Maryon-Wilson family. From the late eighteenth century to 1889 it was worked for sand, and it was named after one of the managers, Mr E. Gilbert. It was purchased by the London County Council in 1930.[5][6]


Gilbert's Pit is an important Paleogene site, displaying one of the most complete sequences of sediments in Greater London. The Paleocene Thanet and Woolwich Formations date to around 55 million years ago. Some of the beds yield many fossils of plants, sponges, molluscs, fish and reptiles. The site has been studied for over 120 years and is the subject of a substantial literature.[1]


The site is steeply sided. The main trees are birch and oak, and there is yellow gorse and broom on the upper slopes. On the lower slopes hawthorn provides nesting sites for birds.[7]


Much of the site is fenced off. There is access to the part which is open from Charlton Lane and a path from the Gilbert's Pit information board in Maryon Park leads up to Cox's Mount, which has fine views over London.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Gilbert's Pit (Charlton) SSSI citation" (PDF). Natural England.
  2. ^ "Charlton Sand Pit (Gilbert's Pit) (Palaeogene)". Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Maryon Wilson Park and Gilbert's Pit". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Map of Maryon Wilson Park and Gilbert's Pit". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  5. ^ Gilbert's Pit noticeboard Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Charlton Park Reminiscences Project, Maryon Park & Gilbert’s Pit
  7. ^ Greenchain, Gilberts Pit & Maryon Park

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°29′20″N 0°02′30″E / 51.4888°N 0.0418°E / 51.4888; 0.0418