Brexit, 10,000 BC: The untold story of how Britain first left Europe

Megafloods, damaged backstops and retreating ice sheets mix in a geological epic: the dramatic story of Britain’s protracted authentic exit from Europe


6 March 2019

“FOG in Channel; Continent Reduce Off”. This apocryphal newspaper headline supposedly illustrates the insularity of the British. Climate-wise, nothing might be farther from the reality immediately, as I peer from a gun emplacement atop the White Cliffs of Dover. The view is beautiful. Useless forward is the bulbous headland of Cap Gris-Nez, the closest tip of France. A number of levels to the left, a pointy eye could make out the distinctive silhouette of Calais City Corridor.

Britain is undoubtedly an island, simply not by very a lot. Not even 21 miles separate England from France right here at their closest method – 33 kilometres measured in suspect items from throughout the ocean. The concrete construction I’ve wormed my means into dates from the final time that distance appeared perilously brief, when German forces massed on the French coast throughout the second world conflict.

The English Channel carries enormous historic and psychological clout. But as little as 10,000 years in the past, you may have walked throughout a dry valley in entrance of me and been in Calais by teatime having hardly received your toes moist.

The complete story of how that modified is eye-popping – and we’ve got solely lately begun to unearth it. Because the political shenanigans surrounding the UK’s resolution to go away the European Union proceed, that is the story of Britain’s authentic exit from Europe – a Brexit drama in three acts.



Act 1, Dover

New Scientist Default Image

About 450,000 years in the past. A ribbon of land stretches into the space. To the fitting, a drop plunges maybe 150 or 200 metres to a plain under. To the left, lapping virtually to our toes, are …

Article amended on
12 March 2019

We corrected the sequence of the Thames, Scheldt, Meuse and Rhine

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