This is a rich inland Red Crag pit, where you can find a vast variety of shells, along with sharks’ and ray teeth. It is an excellent location for any keen crag collector.
♦ If coming from Ipswich, drive past the two shell garages, which are situated on either side of the A12, and keep going past Farlingaye High School on your right. You will then come to a roundabout.
♦ Take the second exit towards Melton on the A1152. Keep going through a set of traffic lights, over the railway crossing, past the Wilfred Bridge pub on your left, until you reach another roundabout. Take the second exit and stay on this road until you come to a crossroad signposted to Alderton.
♦ Take the right turn to the village of Alderton, where you will come across some village stores. Take a left turn into Hollesley Road, then take the next right into Buckanay Lane. Keep going until you reach a farm. This is your final destination.
♦ Ref: 52.02853°N, 1.43554°E
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Fossils from Alderton are common and the shell beds are packed with many different species. However, fossils such as sharks’ teeth are rare.
CHILDREN: ♦ – This location is not suitable for children because you need to be close to the base of the cliff face to find anything.
ACCESS: ♦♦ – This site can be difficult to find for those who do not know the local area. Therefore, the use of a map is essential.
TYPE: – Fossils are found in the shell beds exposed in this pit.
This is mainly a shell collecting location, but sharks’ teeth, trace fossils and fish bones can also be found. If you wish to collect shells, there are plenty of different species, but if you have come to collect small bones then the chance of finding any is quite low.
The lowest beds contain the common shells Aloides, Glycymeris and Venerupis, and the upper beds contain shells of Mya and Cerastoderma. If possible, wet sieving is recommended. It is best to take home numerous samples from the different layers in either large bags or containers. These can then be sieved and the shelly left overs always look good on the garden.
The Red Crag at Alderton is well exposed. Sadly, many pits in the area are now overgrown or have been filled in, but crag enthusiasts have kept this one clean through regular visits.
Alderton is an important geological locality for demonstrating the sedimentological characteristics of the Red Crag. Within the Red Crag there is a range of sedimentary structures indicating initially shallow water, then a deepening to about 60m and finally a shallowing to 5-10m.
All around the quarry, the cross-bedding presents lots of shelly horizons from which bivalves, gastropods (including Neptunia contraria) and various worm tubes can be collected.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used. Care should also be taken when collecting from the base of the cliff.
A trowel or knife can be used for removing the shells from the shell beds. However, these are fragile, so tissue paper and specimen boxes should also be taken.
This site is an SSSI. This means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted. For full information about the reasons for the status of the site and restrictions please download the PDF from Natural England – SSSI Information – Alderton