The huge cliffs of Culver Cliff can yield some superb sponges and large echinoids, with occasional fish remains. However, collecting from this location can be dangerous and difficult. Extreme care must be taken at all times.
♦ • Access to Culver Cliff can be made through Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park. There is a short (but steep) footpath down to the beach.
♦ Ref: 50.66588°N, 1.09749°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦ – There is a fairly low chance of finding fossils here. The foreshore is often covered with sea weed and there is little in the way of boulders or scree slopes to search for fossils.
CHILDREN: ♦ – Culver Cliff is a dangerous location and is not recommended for children or family trips.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – Access to Culver Cliff is from Whitecliff Bay. It is easy access, but, once at Culver Cliff, the foreshore is very slippery. At Whitecliff Bay, parking, toilets and a cafe are available.
TYPE: – Most of the fossils are found on the foreshore. You simply pick them up, but they can also be found in the cliff.
Starting from the west end of the Bay, the Upper Chalk of Culver Cliff yields excellent sponges, such as Porosphaera. Echinoids, such as the small Echinocorys subconicula, and belemnites (Belemnitella mucronata) can be seen from the Portsdown Member. This is at the top of the succession, so it is best to search the rocks that have fallen from this thin marl bed. Occasional fish remains can also be found.
Around the corner from Whitecliff Bay, Culver Cliff yields some superb, very large echinoids (Echinocorys) and also crinoids (Uintacrinus and Marsuites).
Collecting fossils from Culver Cliff can be very difficult, with echinoids being the most common find, which can be found on the foreshore. The best place to search is along the chalk boulders at the end of Culver Cliff to the west of Whitecliff Bay.
The huge Culver Cliffs, with vertical bedding plains, cover the chalk of the Campanian, Santonian and Contacian ages. From Whitecliff Bay, Culver Cliff starts with the Broadstairs Member of the Contacian age and then exposures of the Newhaven Group follow round the corner. Further along this cliff to the eastern end, the Culver Group and Portsdown Chalk Member are exposed.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used and knowledge of tide times is essential. This can be a very dangerous location. The huge cliffs here are constantly falling due to the bedding plains, which are vertical in places. The foreshore is very slippery and rocky, and the sea does not go out very far. It also always reaches the cliff at high tide and it is very easy to get cut off from the corner of Culver Cliff, just before Whitecliff Bay.
Extreme care must be taken at all times.
Most of the fossils can be picked up off the foreshore, without the need of any tools. However, it is best to take a few, which may come in useful.
This site is a site of special scientific interest (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, download the PDF from Natural England.