Levington is a location along the River Orwell where London Clay is exposed in large cliffs and on the foreshore. Levington has yielded a large number of reptile remains including one complete skeleton.
♦ Either: From the large A12 to A14 Roundabout, turn off towards ‘Levington’. Shortly after turning off, you will reach a junction with ‘Felixstow’ to the East and ‘Ipswich’ to the West. Head back towards Ipswich, shortly after, there is a road signposted ‘Levington’. Take this road and follow it all the way down.
♦ Or: Not far after the Orwell Bridge heading North, you will reach the first major junction turn off for Ipswich, this should also be labeled ‘Levington’. Follow signs for Levington, You will reach a wooded area which the road will veer northwards. At this point there should be a turn off to ‘Orwell Park School’. Take this road and you will pass a church.
♦ You should pass the Orwell Park School, you will see a ‘T’ sign and a picnic sign, the road will turn into a narrow unmade track road through some woods. Follow this road all the way down and at the bottom, there will be a car park. From here there is a short footpath to the shore. Levington is to the Left.
♦ Ref: 52.00109°N, 1.24246°E
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – Levington is a popular location for anyone wishing to collect London Clay Fossils. The Tall cliffs yield a large number of sharks teeth and reptile remains. Collecting is best done during scouring conditons or after a winters high water.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦ – Although this location is suitable for children. Children must be told to keep away from the mud flaps and soft clay area. Please see ‘Safety Notes’
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – Levington is easy to get to, not too far to walk to, and is very good for families and children
TYPE: – Levington boosts tall London Clay cliffs, you will probably not find much in the cliff itself, but a combination of tide, rain and wind’s sieve the fossils from the clay for you. All you need to do is look along the foreshore
From the London Clay, sharks teeth are the most common find, but fish and reptile remains and Bivalves can also be found. Of course the London Clay also throws up occasional other surprises such as crustaceans. Most fossils can be found on the foreshore especially from within areas of fine shingle and London Clay. The fossils are washed from the London Clay Cliffs and foreshore. Check the large blocks of heavy London Clay, these where used many years ago for buildings including a roman church. The blocks often contain fossils.
Between Levington and Nacton in the area where there is a small 1/2 metre cliff made of glacial deposits, flints can be seen covering the foreshore. As you walk to Levington, the beds change to London Clay which also becomes exposed on the foreshore.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be taken and knowledge of tide times should always be noted. The London Clay often extends far out at low tide. The mud flaps are extremely dangerous and areas of soft clay can suddenly take you by surprise. Just when you believe the surface is hard and stable, your next foot could end you in serious trouble. In the past there has been one death as the result of sinking sand and sinking clay.
The best advice is to always tread carefully, if planning to visit during winter months, take a long stick to prod before you walk. Stay away from the mud flaps completely. If possible take someone else with you and ensure you have a mobile phone.
The fossils from Levington are usually found on the foreshore, however blocks of hard London Clay also contain fossils, so it is best to take a pick which is useful for the clay and hitting any blocks. Most fossils you will only need good eyes for.
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 – Levington