Quiet, peaceful and tranquil, Quantoxhead has several miles of tall Jurassic cliffs and a very long wave-cut platform. Many fossils including some superb ammonites and reptile remains can be found on this platform. Plenty of rock pools for the kids.
♦ Quantoxhead is quite difficult to find, it is best to follow the A39 to East Quantoxhead and turn up Frog Street. Follow the road all the way down till you get to the church. There is a large pond with ducks here and on the opposite side of the road is a church car park. The church are quite happy for you to park but ask for a small donation in the donation box. It is then a long walk till you reach the steps leading onto the beach. ♦ Ref: 51.19144°N, 3.23692°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Quantoxhead is highly productive for fossils, especially for reptile remains and large ammonites, shells and fish remains can also be found.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦ – Quantoxhead is suitable for families, there is also lots to do for the kids including plenty of huge rock pools, full of life to explore and lots of fossils to be picked up off the foreshore. Please keep children well away from the base of the cliff.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – Access to Quantoxhead beach is fairly easy, but the location itself can be difficult to find, use the maps on the location access page for easy navigation. You should head to ‘East Quantoxhead’
TYPE: – Quantoxhead is a foreshore location, fossils are found exposed on the foreshore within the rocks, or exposed in wave-cut platforms.
REPTILES and FISH : Bones of Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus are the most common reptiles, but other reptiles have been recorded at this location. Fish remains can also be found. AMMONITES and BELEMNITES: There are many different species of Ammonite at Quantoxhead, with one species of Nautilus. Belemnites are much less common, but can still be found.
BIVALVES and BRACHIOPODS: Over 20 different species of Bivalve can be found at Quantoxhead, and a number of Brachiopods.
OTHER FOSSILS: Trace Fossils, including the burrows of Bivalves can be found and occasional echinoid spines. Crinoids are also very common but tend to be mostly small broken fragments, found within shale.
The poor quality photo below shows a Nautilus in a bolder from a recent cliff fall, sadly both photos failed come out. The actual size was around 500cm in diameter and was in perfect condition. The nodule was too large to even lift. There are two interesting sections at Quantoxhead, it is an extremely long walk to get to the different sections. Reptile remains can be found in the soft foreshore shale’s. This generally starts after around a mile West from the steps, the bones can often be found in the same layer as the Crinoid fragments, where fish fragments can also be found. Where nodules are present within the same zone, occasionally bones can be found within these nodules which are extremely well preserved. Moving West, you start to get a number of ammonite impressions in the foreshore rocks, increasing in size as you walk West. With a fresh cliff fall, Ammonites tend to become loose from their nodules and can be found on the beach. Ammonites can also be found in nodules throughout the Quantoxhead area and within the hard limestone layers.
Over 200ft of Lower Lias clays and limestone is present at West Quantoxhead, These dip eastwards. The Lias are similar to those of ‘Church cliff’, Lyme Regis in Dorset. Here they are known as the Quantock’s beds and are 20m thick. The major faults along this part of the coastline can be clearly seen, especially with the hard limestone blocks on the foreshore which in some cases form stepped circles, almost hard to believe that this has been naturally made by the sea.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be taken and knowledge of tide times should always be noted. You can easily be cut off at Quantoxhead by the tide as the sea always reaches parts of the cliff,
Quantoxhead covers a huge area, and there is lots of walking to be done. The rocks are actually much less fossiliferious than other lower lias locations, but the huge area it covers makes finds just as frequent.
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