The Glacial Pebble Beds at Benacre yield a range of derived fossils including echinoid’s, sponges, shells and belemnites. At the base of the cliff, the Baventian Clay is several metres thick.
♦ To get to Benacre, from Wrentham (A12) or from the B1127 towards Covehithe, follow the road until you reach the church. Park along the side of the road and follow the road ahead, walking through the old part of the closed road, you will find a footpath to the North which will take you along top of the cliff.
♦ Continue Northwards until the cliff ends, you will then cross over Benacre Broad. Benacre cliff is the next cliff after this broad.
♦ Ref: 52.38985°N, 1.72233°E
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦ – Benacre is glacial, and occasionally fossils can be found in flints that have been re-deposited. However these are very rare. This is not a location for anyone just interested in fossils, and is suitable for those interested in glacial geology.
CHILDREN: ♦ – Because fossils are rare here, this location is not suitable for children wishing to collect fossils
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – Benacre is easy to get to, a sandy beach makes easy walking and it is not far from easy parking.
TYPE: – Although fossils are very rare, flints found directly in the cliff or on the foreshore can occasionally contain fossils.
Echinoid’s and Sponges can commonly be found in the Glacial Pebble Beds, brought down from the ice age. Belemnites have also been found Many Chalk fragments can be seen with the pebbles, these can also contain shells. Most of the fossils are washed out from the Pebble Bed, these derived fossils mostly originally came from the chalk, re-deposited during the ice age. The foreshore is covered in pebbles and often you can simply stroll along the beach and pick fossils up. Also search the pebble beds themselves. You need to have a good eye for the right shapes.
The Glacial Beds at Benacre are a fantastic example of sedimentation during the ice age. Below the glacial silts, sands, clays and pebble beds are the continuation of the Baventian Clay, but at Bencare evidence of disturbance can be seen in this bed.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be taken and knowledge of tide times should always be noted.
The sea often hits the cliffs at Benacre, so collecting should be done on the fall of the tide. It can also be easy to become cut off, especially at the North end of the cliff. The cliffs constantly crumble, the structure of the cliff means they can suddenly slump or landslide, so you should keep away from the base of the cliff.
The fossils from Benacre are usually washed up from bed exposed further out to see or from fossils that drift from Covehithe and Easton Wood Cliff. Therefore, this is one of those locations where tools are not required.
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 – Pakefield to Easton Bavents