BOVEY BEDS, in geology, a deposit of sands, clays and lignite, 200-300 ft. thick, which lies in a basin extending from Bovey Tracey to Newton Abbot in Devonshire, England. The deposit is evidently the result of the degradation of the neighbouring Dartmoor granite; and it was no doubt laid down in a lake. O. Heer, who examined the numerous plant remains from these beds, concluded that they belonged to the same geological horizon as the Molasse or Oligocene of Switzerland. Starkie Gardiner, however, who subsequently examined the flora, showed that it bore a close resemblance to that of the Bournemouth Beds or Lower Bagshot; in this view he is supported by C. Reid. Large excavations have been made for the extraction of the clays, which are very valuable for pottery and similar purposes. The lignite or "Bovey Coal" has at times been burned in the local kilns, and in the engines and workmen's cottages, but it is not economical.
See S. Gardiner, Q. J. G. S. London, xxxv., 1879; W. Pengelly and O. Heer, Phil. Trans., 1862; C. Reid, Q. J. G. S. lii., 1896, p. 490, and loc. cit. liv., 1898, p. 234. An interesting general account is given by A.W. Clayden, The History of Devonshire Scenery (London, 1906), pp. 159-168.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)