Permanent geological exposures provide the best opportunities for collecting. These are most frequently found along the coast particularly where sea cliffs are continuously eroding. Away from the coast permanent exposures are much more difficult to find and are usually the result of river water erosion, active quarrying operations and engineering projects. Overgrown geological sections in cuttings and disused quarries may also offer access to stratigraphy and provide good representative geological specimens but these well-visited sites can be a disappointing source of fossils.
The geological collection contains specimens from most areas of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
The majority of the northern part of the county overlies the early Paleogene with some middle Paleogene on the eastern edge near Farnborough. The Cretaceous is present on both the southern and northern edges of the area particularly around Newbury, in the southwestern corner of Berkshire. Quaternary deposits are present in the area particularly along the northern and eastern edges of the county.
Access to the geology of the Ypresian and Santonian stages underlying the Newbury area is restricted to overgrown quarries, railway cuttings and engineering contracts. The construction of the A34 Newbury bypass provided comparative material from the Lower Paleogene and Upper Cretaceous. Our collections contain few Ypresian stage (Skinners Green cutting) specimens but the Santonian stage (Castle Wood cutting) is well represented by numerous zonal echinoids.
Access to the geology of the Paleogene and Cretaceous geology underlying the Basingstoke area is restricted to rivers, overgrown quarries, railway cuttings and engineering contracts. In the past various localities near Tadley and Hook have produced well-preserved mollusc specimens from the Ypresian stage. More recently, the construction of the 'Milestones' museum on the western side of Basingstoke briefly provided an opportunity to collect specimens from the Campanian stage of the Upper Chalk. These and other scattered localities are represented in the collection although only a small number of localities currently remain accessible.
Access to the geology of the Ypresian and Lutetian stages underlying the Farnborough area is restricted to overgrown quarries, railway cuttings and engineering contracts. The construction of the A331 through the Blackwater Valley provided good access to the geology underlying this part of northeastern Hampshire.
The majority of the central part of Hampshire overlies the chalk of the late Cretaceous period. A finger of the overlying early Paleogene is present on the southern edge between Romsey and Bishops Waltham with sands and clays of earlier Cretaceous periods recorded on the eastern edge near Bordon.
Access to the geology of various Upper Cretaceous stages underlying the Andover area is restricted to overgrown quarries, railway cuttings and engineering contracts. A temporary exposure north of Micheldever station made during the widening of the railway cutting provided a systematic collection of zonal echinoids from the Santonian stage.
Numerous other Cretaceous specimens from the Andover area are present in the collection, the majority of these specimens are poorly provenanced.
Access to the geology of the Cretaceous (Turonian to Campanian stages) underlying the Winchester area is restricted to overgrown quarries and engineering contracts. The construction of the M3 motorway east of Winchester provided a continuous exposure through the middle and late Chalk.
The upper part of the Turonian stage was exposed near Bar End, the Coniacian and Santonian stages were exposed through Twyford Down and parts of both the Santonian and Campanian stages were exposed near Shawford. All three localities are well represented in the geological collection by good geological and invertebrate specimens, particularly echinoids.
Access to the geology of various Upper Cretaceous stages underlying the Alton area is restricted to overgrown quarries, railway cuttings and engineering contracts. The brickworks east of Selborne exposes part of the lower Albian stage which was also exposed further north during construction of the Bentley bypass.
Both these Albian localities are represented in the collection by a small number of zonal molluscs. Numerous Cretaceous specimens from the Alton area are present in the collection the majority of these specimens are poorly provenanced. The Upper Cretaceous west of Alton is better represented in the collection.
The majority of the southern part of the county overlies the sands and clays of the Paleogene Period; numerous permanent and temporary localities are represented in the collection. The Upper Cretaceous Chalk is present below Portsdown Hill between Fareham and Havant. Quaternary deposits are present in this area particularly along the lower coastal edges of Hampshire.
New Forest area
The Paleogene (Bartonian & Priabonian stages) of the coastal cliff localities at Barton on Sea and Hordle, on the southwestern edge of the New Forest have been collected for over 150 years. The collection reflects some of this work by holding good collections of molluscs, cartilaginous fish and mammals from both these coastal localities.
Away from the coast assess to the Paleogene geology underlying the main part of the New Forest is restricted to streams, road cuttings, disused quarries and temporary excavations. Molluscs from the Priabonian stage (Headon Hill Formation) at Roydon and Whitley Ridge near Brockenhurst are well represented in the collection. The Lutetian and Bartonian stages at Bramshaw, Studley Wood and the other localities in the northeastern parts of the New Forest are poorly represented in the collection.
Access to the Paleogene (Ypresian & Lutetian stages) geology underlying the Southampton area is restricted to overgrown quarries, rail cuttings and various engineering contracts. No permanent inland or coastal localities are represented here.
The temporary localities in the area include excavations into the Lutetian stage for the construction of a reservoir at Testwood, Totton; a marine dock at Slowhill Copse, Marchwood; a pumping station at Millbrook; and a motorway cutting near West End. These localities are all well represented in the collection by marine molluscs and the teeth of cartilaginous fish from the marginal marine deposits.
Access to the geology of the Paleogene (Ypresian & Lutetian stages) and Cretaceous (Campanian stage) underlying the Fareham area is mostly restricted to overgrown quarries, rail cuttings and engineering contracts.
These localities include the former chalk quarry excavated in the Campanian stage at Downend Lane; temporary excavations in the Ypresian Stage at the former Burlsedon brickworks site at Swanwick; construction of Peel Common sewage works; and pipe excavation work between Tanners Lane and Peak Lane.
The only productive permanent locality is the Lutetian stage at Hill Head. All of these localities are well represented in the collection by marine molluscs and the teeth of cartilaginous fish.
Access to the geology of the Paleogene (Ypresian, Lutetian and Bartonian stages) underlying the Gosport area has been restricted to engineering contracts and coastal localities. Temporary localities in the area include outfall pipe excavations into various parts of the Lutetian stage between Shoot Lane and Browndown and pumping station excavations into the Ypresian stage at Brewers Lane.
The Lutetian and Bartonian stage, localities at Lee-on-the-Solent and Elmore were buried by engineering work in 1997. All these localities are well represented in the collection by marine invertebrates, vertebrates and geological specimens.
Access to the geology of the Paleogene (Ypresian stage) underlying the Havant area is restricted to temporary excavations and engineering contracts. There are no permanent coastal localities in the Havant area.
The temporary localities include a landfill excavation in the early part of the Ypresian Stage in Southleigh Forest and the A3M motorway cutting, east of Waterlooville. Both these localities are well represented in the collection by marine invertebrate fossils and geological specimens. The collection also contains a comprehensive collection of comparative specimens from the marine Lutetian stage exposed at Selsey and Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex.
Isle of Wight
The sands, clays and limestones of the Paleogene Period are exposed on foreshores and in the north facing coastal cliffs between Alum and Whitecliff Bays and continue inland below the northern part of the island.
The chalk of the underlying Cretaceous Period rises abruptly to form the central downland ridge, sands and clays dominate the remaining Cretaceous. These earlier Cretaceous deposits both underlie and outcrop along the southern side of the island, between Sandown and Compton Bays. The clays, sands & gravels of the Quaternary Period are present throughout the Isle of Wight.
Isle of Wight (north)
The Paleogene (Priabonian to Thanetian stages) of the north coast of the Isle of Wight have been studied for many years and the most productive of these localities are still occasionally visited by staff. Coastal localities represented include Alum, Colwell, Newtown, Osborne and Whitecliff Bays. The good collections from these localities contain various marine and freshwater invertebrates. Inland localities are poorly represented in the collection.
Isle of Wight (south)
The Cretaceous (Senonian to Berremian stages) of the south coast of the Isle of Wight have been studied for many years and the most productive of these localities are still occasionally visited by staff. Coastal localities represented include Compton Bay (Shippards Chine to Hanover Point), Brighstone Bay (Brook Chine to Shepherd's Chine), Chale Bay (Atherfield Point to Whale Chine) and Sandown Bay (Yaverland to Culver Cliff).
The good collections from these localities contain marine invertebrates from Chale and Sandown Bays and terrestrial reptilian remains from Compton and Brighstone Bays. Inland localities are poorly represented in the collection.