Dorset's Important Geological Sites

Sturminster Newton Railway Cutting

Sturminster Newton Railway Cutting ST784143

Site description: Jurassic, Corallian Group

Since the railway through Sturminster Newton was closed in the 1960’s, most of the cutting has been filled in, but the last section towards the bridge was bought by the occupants of the bungalows on either side, in order to keep it as a nature reserve. The sides of the cutting are degrading, and the space is full of vegetation.

In 1877, when the railway was being built, a full section of the Corallian Group was previously exposed in this cutting for the old Somerset and Dorset Railway. The Formations which could be seen were the Hinton St. Mary Clay, Sturminster Pisolite, Newton Clay, Todber Freestone, Coral Rag, Clavellata Beds, Sandsfoot Clay and Sandsfoot Grit. Only the western part now remains, and it is heavily overgrown. It is of historic interest as the section which was uncovered during the building of the railway was published in 1877, by Blake and Hudleston, and has therefor been designated as a Regionally Important Geological Site.

Published references: see DERC file.
Blake JF and Hudleston WH – On the Corallian rocks of England, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, vol. 33, pp 260-405, – remains the reference section for studies of these Formations in North Dorset.
Bristow, C.R., Barton, C.M., Freshney, E.C., Wood, C.J., Evans, D.J., Cox, B.M., Ivimey-Cook, H.C. & Taylor, R.T., 1995, Geology of the country around Shaftesbury. Geological Survey Memoir, UK. Sheet 31.
White, H.J.O. 1923: Geology of the country south and west of Shaftesbury. Memoir of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. Sheet 313.
Wright, J.K., 1981, The Corallian rocks of North Dorset. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, vol. 92, 17-32.