The Flandrian Vegetational History and Environmental Development of the Brede and Pannel Valleys; East Sussex.


Waller, Martin 1987. The Flandrian Vegetational History and Environmental Development of the Brede and Pannel Valleys; East Sussex. Thesis University of East London
AuthorsWaller, Martin

This study examines the Flandrian development,
particularly the vegetational history, of two valleys in
the East Sussex Weald, the Brede and Pannel.
Lithostratigraphic surveys of these valleys and
biostratigraphic investigations from a number of key sites,
principally using the technique of pollen analysi, have
been undertaken. Radiocarbon dates provide a chronological
In the lower Brede valley pre-Flandrian colluvial
deposits are overlain by estuarine sediments and a thin
intermittent peat. Widespread peat formation began c.6000
BP., when alder fen woodland became established on the
floodplain. Estuarine conditions returned after c.1800 B.P.
The sedimentary history of the Pannel appears to be
similar, although the deposits at.Paünel Bridge are
unusual. Here 1 2.5m of organic material has accumulated
since the beginning of the Flandrian. Comparisons are made
with other coastal localities in East Sussex in order to
determine the importance of local, against regional
processes, in the formation of these sequences.
At Pannel Bridge the pollen record extends back to
10000 B.P. when the vegetation was dominated by Pinus.
Macrofossils remains of Alnus glutinosa were found
indicating the presence of this species at the opening of
the Flandrian. Corylus was the first of the deciduous taxa
to expand (c.9400 B.P.) , followed by Quercus and tjlrnus
(c.9000 B.P.). Tilia became an important component of the
vegetation after c.7000 B.P.
The nature of' the mid-Flandrian forests has been
examined in some detail in the Brede valley. At Old Place
investigations were undertaken to elucidate the pattern of
pollen distribution across the floodplain. Sites close to
the valley sides contain particularly high frequencies of
Tilia pollen, indicating Tilia was abundant in the adjacent
slope woodland.
Limited interference by man on the vegetation may
have occurred prior to, and accompanying the 'elm decline'.
However, there is no evidence to suggest major episodes of
forest clearance prior to the declines in Tilia dated to
c.3700 B.?.
This study highlights some of the problems in
interpreting pollen assemblages from deposits of rich-fen

Keywordsmid-Flandrian forests; pollen record; peat formation
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Deposited11 May 2011
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