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Where do flints come from?

Flints are formed in chalk & some flints remain within the chalk beds today & can be sourced directly from quarries.

caption one Picking flint from the surface Other flints have been released from the chalk cliffs by the action of the sea & then rounded to form cobbles. Another source of flints are those that may have been worked out of the ground through agricultural activities & that lie scattered on the surface of fields. These are known as field flints & are the most abundant & close to hand of all flints. Laid in lime mortar field flints will be found in vernacular buildings & boundary walls in gardens & fields all over Sussex, Surrey, Kent & Hampshire to name a few counties rich in flint.

As the action of the plough brings flints to the surface the best place to gather flints is on agricultural land & as such flint wallers will associate themselves with a farmer who will grant permission to pick from their land. However after ploughing, the seeds are then sown & the fields rolled to sink the flints below the bar level on the combine harvester, the flint waller therefore has a limited time in which to pick & stock up for the flint laying season.

Colour variations

Scattered flint Scattered flint The colour of the flints varies from field to field & as such we need to pick from a variety of places to ensure we have flints that will match the colour of the flints on existing walls. This is as crucial as the colour & composition of the lime mortar when it comes to blending new work to old when repairing or rebuilding flint walls.

This year we have picked flints from Housedean, Ditchling beacon, Piddinghoe & Firle Beacon. We have stock piled flints & possess a broad spectrum of colours that range from a chalky matt white to a warm honey colour. Some of the flints have had their black core exposed & over time this has weathered back to form a milky blue patination. This selection will be ideal for a project in Edburton, Sussex where we will be cladding a house & also for a new flint wall in a garden in Lewes, Sussex.

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