Llantwit Major is the best place in Wales for Jurassic fossils. The huge cliffs yield a wide range of fossils and unique is the large amount of marine life, for example corals and giant brachiopods and gastropods.
♦ From Llantwit Major, follow the main road through the centre of town heading towards the beach.
♦ The road will follow the river and eventually lead to a huge car park, cafe, toilets and a wonderful view of fantastic Jurassic Cliffs.
♦ There is only one road to the beach and it is quite easy to find since it is a popular location. The best beds are to the east. There is plenty to look for here.
♦ Please do not hammer the bedrock.♦ Ref: 51.39647°N, 3.50198°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Fossils are very common at Llantwit Major, although they are mostly large mollusc’s such as gastropods and bivalves. You will be sure to plenty plenty of excellent specimens.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Llantwit Major is suitable for family trips and children. Toilets, food and drink can all be found here.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦♦ – An excellent car park with toliets, cafe etc, and a very short walk to the beach. Llantwit Major has very good access, but is also very rocky.
TYPE: – Fossils are mostly found in the rocks along the foreshore but can also be found in the cliff face and also in the scree slopes. The cliffs are too dangerious to collect from, so please stick to the foreshore boulders and shale.
One of the best locations for collecting fossils from Wales is Llantwit Major, expect to find anything here!….the beds are similar to Watchet but ammonites are less common and shells, sponges, corals, echinoids are far more common.
There is a vast range of different shells including gigantic 5 inch gastropods and gryphea the size of tennis balls. In short excluding ammonites, everything else seems much bigger here. Bones can also be found both of fish remains and of Ichthyosaurus.
The cliffs at Llantwit Major are extremely high and the foreshore is vast, its one of these locations that you get to and you stop to wonder where to start, the main tip is to not try to cover everything, search and concentrate on key areas, the best area is to the east of the cafe where the beach is less built up and cliff falls are more regular, the best area is from approximately half a mile from the cafe. Also like Lavernock, most fossils you have to work for as they will be in rock and not washed out like many of the Watchet fossils.
The dark shale areas on the foreshore between the hard limestone are worth a search since this is the location where bones and the giant gastropod can be found.
The mudstones, siltstones and limestone rocks at Llantwit Major belong to the Lias Group. These are of the lower Blue Lias Formation and the Portkerry Member. The fossils are completely different from those found across the Severn estuary at Watchet, with giant gastropods, bivalves and brachiopods dominating the rocks, with only a few ammonites.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be taken and knowledge of tide times should always be noted. The cliffs at Llantwit Major are extremely high and cliff falls are frequently occurring along this coast. Please keep clear of the cliffs and if you are searching below the cliffs, ensure that you wear a hard hat.
It is recommended that you take a hammer, chisel and safety glasses, because many of the fossils are in large boulders and slabs on the foreshore. However, this is not essential, since fossils can also be found in the dark shale on the foreshore and all you need is a good eye and a small knife or trowel (or even a screwdriver) to lift the fossils out of the shale (because they are usually quite hard). Bones should be carefully removed from the shale using a fine chisel and small hammer. Wrap up fossils well and place them in containers or bags.
There are no restrictions at this site, hammering and collecting is permitted. However we ask that you follow our fossil code of conduct which can be found in the link below.