Hertfordshire puddingstone weighing 3.5 tonnes unearthed during A120 bypass work given pride of place in Little Hadham
A piece of Hertfordshire puddingstone weighing 3.5 tonnes has been given pride of place in Little Hadham after being unearthed during building of the new A120 bypass.
Workers made the discovery while constructing road embankments around 100 yards east of the Albury Tributary, to act as flood defences, just north of the village.
The iconic and distinctive rock is a striking geological formation consisting of very hard sedimentary rock, with flint gravel embedded within it, giving the appearance of a fruit pudding, hence its name.
According to folklore, the puddingstone was thought to have supernatural powers, including being a protective charm against witchcraft.
In more recent times, a piece of puddingstone was traditionally given to a bride and groom, possibly as a fertility symbol.
The project team worked with Little Hadham Parish Council to find a suitable home for the enormous stone and it now resides by the village sign at the junction of The Ford and Chapel Lane.
"The puddingstone will stand as a monument to both the commitment and investment of the bypass team, but also the natural and rural setting of Little Hadham and its surroundings," said parish council chairman Cllr Neil Faraday.
"We hope the puddingstone will become a centre point of our community for generations."
The distinctive rock is largely confined to Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, but small amounts also occur throughout the London Basin.
Puddingstones have also been connected with ley lines, the lines of mystical energy believed by some to criss-cross Britain.
"This fascinating discovery made by our A120 project team reveals the unique geological make-up of our county and is a large piece of history, dating back to prehistoric times," said Cllr Phil Bibby, Hertfordshire County Council's cabinet member for highways and transport.
"We are pleased that the work on the A120 bypass has uncovered such an interesting artefact which can now be enjoyed by the local community and will serve as a lasting reminder of the fantastic and painstaking work being carried out on the new scheme."
The bypass is due to open this winter and will alleviate congestion along the route caused by the Little Hadham traffic lights, providing more reliable journey times.
Mill Mound, a bridge carrying a popular bridleway over the bypass, opened in August, marking a key milestone in delivery of the scheme and completion of major structures across the site.