At Crimplesham, Kimmeridge Clay and Oxford Clay are exposed. Within the Oxford Clay are large nodules, which contain ammonites, brachiopods and bivalves. The quarry is slowly being backfilled, so collecting is becoming more limited.
♦ From the west, Crimplesham is to the east of Downham Market and best accessed from the A1122. From here, drive through the village, past the church, and continue along this road.
♦ From the east, Crimplesham is best accessed from the A134. The site is only 500m from the A134 turnoff towards Crimplesham.
♦ Ref: 52.60538°N, 0.45415°E
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – Finding fossils here depends on where the quarry is currently being dug. The quarry owners are extracting the top sands, so the Oxford Clay and Kimmeridge Clay are found at the bottom of the pit. Once the quarry takes all the sand, it backfills. This means that collecting can be unpredictable.
CHILDREN: ♦ – Quarries are dangerous places and are not suitable for children. This is also a working quarry. Due to health and safety, children under the age of 16 are not allowed in working quarries. You will also need permission to visit this location.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – This quarry is easy to find, to the East of Crimplesham. It has a large car park near the main offices.
TYPE: – Fossils are found in the Kimmeridge Clay and Oxford Clay. The best are found in the hard nodules of Oxford Clay.
To find fossils at Crimplesham, you need to split rocks. Shells and ammonites are common, but only if you look hard for them. The best places to look are at the lowest point for Kimmeridge Clay fossils and just above this level in the Oxford Clay. Many areas of the quarry are now backfilled, but these areas are also where most of the large Oxford Clay boulders can be found that contain the best ammonites. You will need a heavy hammer to crack them open, but they normally contain at least a good shell.
At the top, the Pleistocene deposits with chalk fragments contain occasional derived fossils. Below this level, there is Jurassic Oxford clay and then Kimmeridge Clay at the base of the pit. The latter is not always exposed and is often inaccessible by being covered by water.
At the top, the Pleistocene deposits with chalk fragments contain occasional derived fossils, especially those from the Jurassic Oxford Clay.
The site is situated on the confluence of three distinct periods of geological activity:
Boulder Clay, Sandringham Sand Formation and Gault and Hunstanton Formation (Red Chalk).
Below this level, there is the Kimmeridge Clay Formation at the base of the pit. The latter is not always exposed and is often inaccessible by being covered by water. The Kimmeridge Clay is a blue-grey, marine mudstone, rich in fossils and it contains cementstone concretions.
It is the oldest rock exposed at the surface in Norfolk, principally in the eastern part of Fenland as far north as the Wash, where it forms low-lying land bordering and underlying the Fens.
You will need a good heavy hammer and eye protection to split the nodules at Crimplesham, as the best fossils can be found inside these. Containers will also come in handy and paper to wrap any fragile fossils, especially from the Kimmeridge Clay.
This is a working quarry and you will need permission to visit. This can be obtained by telephoning Frimstone Pit on 01366 388900.