- Many of us, especially those with children or grandchildren of a certain age, will be familiar with the hit children’s television series Teletubbies. Teletubbies ran for several hundred episodes over four years before ending in 2001. Since that time it has been continually repeated, introducing new generations of children to the antics of Tinky Winky, Laa-Laa, Dipsy and Po. The four teletubbies lived in Teletubbyland: an area of rolling grassland which incorporated a curious dome-shaped dwelling, with some rather familiar Warwickshire scenery in the background.
Teletubbyland was sited on farmland at Wimpstone, roughly eight kilometres south of Stratford-upon-Avon. The artificial dome was subsequently removed and is now the site of a pond, visible from Google Maps.
So what of this landscape. The British Geological Survey’s Stratford-upon-Avon Map Sheet and online viewer indicates that Teletubbyland is underlain by clays and thin limestones of Early Jurassic age, originally deposited as layers of mud in the Jurassic sea, roughly 200 million years ago. These rock layers, ascribed to the so-called Blue Lias and Charmouth Mudstone formations are quite soft, accounting for the rolling landscape of Teletubbyland. Regionally, throughout south-east Warwickshire and beyond, these rock layers form the poorly drained low-lying clay vale below the prominent Cotswold escarpment which is capped by relatively resistant limestone layers. To the east of the Stour Valley, as at Edge Hill, the Cotswold limestones disappear and the slightly older Marlstone (a thick ironstone bed) comes into its own as the main ridge-former.
In the photo in this article you can see the Nebsworth Downs, straddling the Warwickshire-Gloucestershire border just a few kilometres to the south. This outlying hill, rising to around 250 metres, forms our county’s highest ground and is capped by true Cotswold limestones.
When the Teletubby dwelling was removed and a pond dug, it is likely that a quantity of Jurassic clay bedrock was removed. Thus revealed, the naturally impervious clay lining would have been perfect for holding up the water of the pond that replaced it.
The teletubbies are due to return to our screens soon but with a new artificial set, rather than a slice of Jurassic Warwickshire.