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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010
  • First published in: 1833

CHAPTER XXI

Summary

Denudation of the Valley of the Weald.—In order to understand the theory of which we sketched an outline at the close of the last chapter, it will be necessary that the reader should be acquainted with the phenomena of denudation exhibited by the chalk and some of the older secondary rocks in parts of England most nearly contiguous to the basins of London and Hampshire. It will be sufficient to consider one of the denuded districts, as the appearances observable in others are strictly analogous; we shall, therefore, direct our attention to what we may call the Valley of the Weald, or the region intervening between the North and South Downs.

Map.—In the coloured map given in Plate V., the district alluded to is delineated, and it will be there seen that the southern portion of the basin of London, and the north-eastern limits of that of Hampshire, are separated by a tract of secondary rocks, between 40 and 50 miles in breadth, comprising within it the whole of Sussex and parts of the counties of Kent, Surrey, and Hampshire.

There can be no doubt that the tertiary deposits of the Hampshire basin formerly extended much farther along our southern coast towards Beachy Head, for patches are still found near Newhaven, and at other points, as will be seen by the map. These are now wasting away, and will in time disappear, as the sea is constantly encroaching and undermining the subjacent chalk.