Submerged forest

It's Christmas Day 2020 and the Covid-19 has us by the short and curlies. Being lovely weather we decided to swap the usual turkey for a quick jaunt over a 6,000 year old submerged forest at Pett Level, East Sussex.

Several millennia ago, way before Christianity, the beach we now walk on would have been peat marshland and forest. Hazel, birch and oak have been identified here, the oak being used for ship building over the centuries.

It's hard to visualise but when the forest flourished, sea levels were 30 metres lower than today. Over the years the brine advanced flooding the woodland, preserving the trees in anaerobic (without oxygen) mud and silt which we walk on today. Hazelnuts found here have been dated back 5,000 years.

If you do venture out onto the mud, you might want to consider wellies and watch your footing, it gets very slippy!

PS: this is a submerged forest and not a petrified forest where trees have turned to stone.