By Tony Whitbread
On Sunday 5th July the Lewes Railway Land is hosting the Biosphere Festival. There will be a host of events and displays, including a Sussex Wildlife Trust stand, but the event will be opened with a fascinating geological perspective on 500 million years of climate and sea-level change.
A geology display by Professor Rory Mortimore will be formally unveiled at the Railway Land Festival. This display, which will feature drilling cores, fossils, drone shots and QR code- triggered videos sets out long term historical climate change that brings yet another aspect to the pioneering Linklater Pavilion dedicated to the study of environmental change.
Said Professor Mortimore, who will open the exhibition at 3pm on 5thJuly, ‘Climate and sea levels have constantly changed throughout geological time. The rocks that make the South Downs record nearly 40 million years of environmental change. Sea-level was 300 metres above present day (two times the height of Beachy Head) when the Chalk, exposed in the river-cliffs at Lewes opposite the Linklater Pavilion, formed.
The animals that lived in that sea and on the seafloor are the fossils that we now find in our local chalk pits and shown in these displays. As well as high sea levels the Chalk represents a time when the Earth was a ‘hot-house’ with no or little polar ice. Yet we can see in the Chalk that there were also small ‘cycles’ of temperature and climate change represented by the alternating beds of marl-limestone in Southerham Grey Pit.’
The free Railway Land Live! Festival, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will include many family activities - a Minecraft game based on the Reserve, underwater wildlife images, a puppet show, displays by the young sea level rise group of teenagers called the Linklater Rats, live music, refreshments and much more. It runs from 2-5pm at the Railway Land Local Nature Reserve, situated at the end of Railway Lane, Lewes BN7 2FG.