Rock up for a special day
We’ve uncovered fossils and prehistoric remains at College Lake nature reserve which bring this ancient history to life. Discover more at the Geology Rocks celebration this weekend.
Kate Sheard, Community Wildlife Officer in Bucks, says: “We’re excited to be able to showcase the history of College Lake, and the amazing fossils and prehistoric remains that have been found here thanks to a £74,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for our Earth Explorers project. This weekend we’re celebrating the new Geology Rocks exhibition with variety of special walks and activities.”
Millions of years ago a warm, shallow sea, filled with life, covered southern England and College Lake looked very different from the tranquil wetland and chalk grassland that we see today.
The remains of tiny coccolithophores (single-celled algae) in the water dropped to the sea floor and eventually formed the chalk that now runs all the way through the Chilterns. Buried within the chalk are fossils of the creatures that used to live there.
During the late 20th century when College Lake was a working quarry many fossils, including ammonites and sea urchins, were uncovered during the excavations. Take a look at these fossils close-up in the new interactive exhibition.
Scarlett, aged five, says: “It’s really cool. I love the brass rubbings and the fossils are amazing!”
Around 200,000 years ago life at College Lake had changed again. The area was savannah grassland and wildlife living there included wild horses, lions and woolly mammoths. Bones and remains of this prehistoric wildlife, including a large mammoth tooth and tusks, found on the reserve make up the second part of the exhibition.
Kate Sheard says: “The interactive exhibits and displays encourage families to explore together, and there’s more in-depth information for people who would like to delve further into the history of the reserve.”
Today, thanks to the hard work of BBOWT and a dedicated group of volunteers, the site is a haven for wildlife. The final part of the exhibition looks at this precious wildlife.
The poor chalky soil is perfect for many special wild flowers and these attract a range of insects and other wildlife. Discover how many different types of flowering plant can grow in just 1m2 of chalk grassland when you visit the exhibition. Kate Sheard recognises the vital input of the volunteers who’ve contributed to the exhibition: “We’d like to thank all of our volunteers who have worked so hard helping us to put the exhibition together. We’re very lucky to have people on site with so much specialist knowledge.”
College Lake’s in-house geology expert, volunteer Rodney Sims will be leading some of the walks this weekend. He says: “The exhibits will change every so often to allow us to display a wide variety of the many fossils and remains that have been found here. Geology Rocks is a wonderful opportunity to explore the fascinating history of the College Lake.”