A naturally-occurring pebble-studded ball of Kimmeridge Clay. It was found rolling around on the water’s edge at Ringstead Bay in Dorset. I like the shape of this beachcombed object. It’s quite decorative. The pattern of the bright orange and lighter-coloured stones looks attractive against the blue-grey clay.
The main body of the clay outcrops high on the seashore and has a very glutinous texture when wet. Sometimes pieces of this clay crack off in dry conditions or may be loosened by wave action. When wet, these lumps of clay stick to anything they come into contact with.
The seashore at this point is mostly flint shingle with smaller pebbles and finer gravel at low tide level. The strong currents and crashing waves have moved the clay around until it has become this interesting rounded shape and texture. It has acquired the pebble coating in much the same way that a soft sweet acquires its finish of “hundreds and thousands”.
Revision of a post first published 23 June 2009
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