Website & Video Production By David Wilson.
The origins of the Austin Lodge Valley lie in the Pleistocene geological period of 2.6 million to 12,000 years ago, which included several glaciations of north west Europe, which lasted from 120,000 to 12,000 years. The valley was formed towards the end of the most recent of these glacial periods. Southern Britain was not covered by the ice sheets which lay to the north, but the intense cold meant that the moisture within the chalk was permanently frozen, forming an impermeable layer called ‘permafrost’. The impermeability of the chalk meant that during short periods of surface thaw, streams formed along a depression or fault line on the chalk surface. When the ice of the permafrost eventually melted, streams and rivers disappeared into the fissures in the chalk and the valley in which they previously flowed became ‘dry’. Some chalk dry valleys such as the Devil’sDyke near Brighton and the Devil’s Kneading Trough near Wye, Kent are spectacular: short, steep and deep. The Austin Lodge Valley is not spectacular in this way. Instead, it is long and relatively narrow with woods along nearly all its skyline, changing views, and a long agricultural history.