An Interesting Past......
Fremington Quay not only has a redundant rail station now acting as an excellent cafe, but a while ago came into existence at the boundary of two geological eras. Coastwise members walked round the shore past Fremington Pill and the old limekiln to the several hundred metres of exposed low cliff to the West to view this characteristic exposure.
It is used as a source of various colours of rock by local artists to make paint, and the strange history of the location has made this possible.
In the sequence of time, Fremington Quay stands at the boundary of the older Devonian rocks to the East and the younger Carboniferous to the West, with rocks around 350Mya, as marine life started to emerge onto land.
Geographically, they were formed south of the equator mainly in desert conditions and have migrated North with tectonic plate movements.
During that journey through distance and deep time, they've been subjected to huge disturbance as other continents were parked inconsiderately against them, causing the orogeny of what geologists term the Variscan mountains which stretched from what is now Eastern Europe. These mountains are believed to be of the same order of size magnitude as the modern European Alps or possibly the Himalaya, and have now been completely eroded away, revealing the extensive syncline/anticlinal rippling we see all along the North Cornwall and Devon coast.
At times during this continental realignment Fremington Quay was also on the North coast of an ocean, termed by geologists the Rheic sea, which again has come and gone through time. This has probably contributed to the varying minerals and colours that can be seen in this short stretch of coastline. The location on the edge of a coast and deep sea fall-off may also have contributed to the traces of low-grade coal - "Bideford Black" - which are found in the area, as distinct from the high-grade coal and anthracite that was mined in the South Wales coalfields just across the Bristol Channel. The picture of a nodal structure shows a range of rock colours from various origins including black, red and white.
The Station cafe provides an ideal conclusion, with high-grade rock cake available.
© Coastwise 2017