Natural England - Rock Edge Quarry (SSSI)

Rock Edge Quarry (SSSI)

Location and Access Information
Grid Reference: SP 549064

This disused quarry is located in the district of Headington, north-east Oxford and is a Local Nature Reserve and is open to the public. The site can be accessed from the B4495, off the A420 in Oxford. Vehicles can be parked at the roadside. There is a sign board at the northern end of the site providing geological information about the exposure.

Geological Interest

The geological exposures of the Upper Jurassic Coral Rag at this site enable geologists to reconstruct the environment 145 million years ago. During this period a warm shallow sea covered Oxfordshire, similar to that of the present day Bahamas Banks. At Rock Edge the Coral Rag is rich in fossil remains, derived from corals reefs that formed in the ancient shelf sea. Close examination reveals the presence of two types of limestone, reflecting the close proximity of the reef margin. One variety consists primarily of coarse fragments broken off the reef, whilst the other is finer grained, representing the lime sand that accumulated on the sea bed a short distance from the reef. Actual in situ reefs were previously visible in quarries located a few metres to the south.