This is a walk back through time. If you had stood here in the Triassic,
240 million years ago, you would have been in the equivalent of the Sahara
- hard to imagine after all the rain this summer. At that time, what is
now Britain was on the equator, and you would be in the middle of a massive
expanse of sand, with huge dune systems and muddy vegetated water channels.
Dinosaurs roamed, leaving their footprints in the mud - occasionally we
still find these footprints, now fossilized in sandstone.
At the other extreme, 20,000 years ago the landscape was
scraped clean by the last ice sheet, and there are still areas of rock
with no soil cover dating back to that time. When the ice retreated, plants,
animals and then people returned. Today the largest wild animals you may
be lucky enough to see on the Common are foxes or badgers. Back then there
would have been cave bears, woolly rhinoceros, giant Irish elk, and woolly
mammoth, all now extinct, as well as the more familiar beaver, bison,
brown bear and wolf. Your walk at that time might have been quite exciting!
Think of the walk as a detective story. There are clues
to be found to the past, it is like a jig saw puzzle waiting to be pieced
together. Explore the landscape, and see what you can find.