Loading Events

Upcoming Events

Find Events
June 23 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • FREE
  • Midsummer Madness
  • Young Essex


Ian Mercer and Ros Mercer
South Essex 300,000 years ago


Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road
Braintree, Essex CM77 8PD
drop-in, no booking required


Join Ian Mercer and Ros Mercer, authors of Essex Rock: Geology Beneath the Landscape and discover the fascinating and surprising geology of our county.

Soil is this planet’s thin surface layer where rocks and biology combine to recycle dead stuff back into life. Plants and animals – that includes you – depend upon minerals in the rocks underneath us. You have to ‘Eat Rock’!

Soil is created in an amazing exchange process involving mineral particles, fungi, microbes and small animals, notably earthworms.

Minerals are dissolved in soil. Their chemical building-blocks pass into plant roots along millions of threads of fungus.

In exchange, the fungus gets fed with ‘sugar chains’ produced by the plants using energy from sunlight shining on their leaves.

The story of soil is the story of the survival of civilization – what we do to the soil we do to ourselves!


Ian and Ros will also be selling signed copies of their book, Essex Rock.

Part of our Midsummer Madness Family Fun Day. Pack your picnic and make a beeline for what promises to be a magical day at Cressing Temple Barns. Free parking, free entry and lots of free activities. All welcome.


Sunday 23rd June, 12.00 – 4.00pm

Venue: Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road, Braintree, Cressing, CM77 8PD
Tickets: Free, drop-in, no booking required



Essex Rock: Geology Beneath the Landscape by Ian Mercer and Ros Mercer

Essex Rock

Order a copy of Essex Rock at bookshop.org

This magnificently illustrated volume vividly brings to life the fascinating and surprising geology of this complex corner of the British Isles. Packed with exceptional full-colour diagrams, illustrations and photographs it links features in today’s landscape with a deep-time county history stretching back 500 million years.


“The best book of its kind I’ve ever seen, and I’m familiar with a great many publications explaining the geology of a particular area. Highly attractive, superbly illustrated with hundreds of well-chosen photographs and specially drafted figures, and – crucially – scientifically accurate, it is simply a masterpiece.

The book oozes labour of love and intelligent planning, with easy to grasp, well written sections that draw you in. Comprehensive but never dull or formulaic, it’s all the more an achievement as Essex is not well known for its geology. The county’s long history of changing environments and evolving life is clearly revealed, starting when the crust under today’s Essex was far south of the Equator.

If only such a book was available for every county in the UK! Congratulations to all concerned; this book should, and probably will, win awards.”

– Dr Peter Sheldon, Honorary Associate in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Open University


“A lifetime of innovative thinking has come pouring out in one volume. As the authors say, if we are to look after the future of our natural world, then we need to understand what has brought us to this point. This magnificently illustrated volume presents Essex and its ever-evolving landscape in a truly insightful manner. A book with interest for one and all.”

— Dr Richard J Hubbard, geologist and author of The Smugglers Trail








Cressing Temple Barns
Witham Road
Braintree, Essex CM77 8PD
+ Google Map


There are two disabled toilets on site. Level access to all areas apart from Stables, Bake House and Granary. A mobility scooter is available to loan if booked in advance.