Along the River Stour, Pleistocene cliffs at Stutton Ness yield the bones of mammoths and deer, while foreshore exposures of Eocene London clay yield a wide variety of fossil seeds.
♦ Unfortunately, there is a long walk to get to Stutton. The narrow roads, which could take you closer, have warning signs that unauthorised parking will result in wheel clamping. The large number of walkers in this area in the past have resulted in blocked roads, as people have parked carelessly.
♦ You will need to park at the Stutton Community Centre. There is a special area signposted as ‘Walkers Park Here’. Do not park on the main concrete car park, but use the special grass area for walkers. From here, walk left out of the community centre entrance. There is a road signposted to the farm business centre.
♦ Follow the road until it veers into the business centre. Do not go into the centre, but rather go straight ahead and follow the road until it goes past the garden of a very large house. You will reach a gate and the footpath continues through gate.
♦ Continue along the farm track until you reach a ‘T’ junction. Follow the path to the left until you get to the shore. Here, take a right turn and follow the path until you reach Stutton Ness. It is marked by a slope leading onto the shore and a tyre used as a swing.
♦ From here, walk right along the shore. If you want to reach the London Clay, you will need to walk to the next headland, which can be seen with lots of trees.
♦ Ref: 51.95554°N, 1.12285°E
FIND FREQUENCY:♦ – Stutton is not a very productive location and often depends on tides to wash out the Pleistocene cliffs. Bones are occasionally found here, but are uncommon. Seeds from the London Clay are difficult to collect, as the exposures are often covered in algae.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – This location is suitable for families, but is a very long walk.
ACCESS: ♦ – There is a long 6.5km walk to this location, because cars are not allowed down the narrow farm tracks. A round trip of 13km makes this a challenging location for anyone not used to walking.
TYPE: – Fossils can be found in the cliffs or foreshore. London Clay is only exposed on the foreshore.
Elephant bones, teeth and tusks, along with deer bones, can be found here. Molluscs are also frequently found. London Clay is exposed on the foreshore west of Stutton Ness, where the exposures yield a variety of small fossil seeds. Search the cliffs themselves, especially after storms and high tides.
Bones can be seen in situ and you can dig these out using a trowel. Molluscs can also be collected in situ. Check the base of the cliffs and along the edge of the river, where bones can get washed out and deposited or fall from the cliff. At the western end, London Clay is exposed on the foreshore. You can search the shingle in this area or take samples for wet sieving. Small seeds are often found.
At the western end, London Clay is exposed on the foreshore, whereas Pleistocene deposits are found to the east, in interglacial deposits in the low cliffs on the north bank of the Stour estuary.
Common sense should be used when collecting at all locations. Tide times should be noted, with collecting carried out on a retreating tide, if possible.
Fossils at Stutton can mostly be picked up after storms, when the river and tides wash out the cliffs, so specialist equipment is not necessary other than containers for your finds.
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 – Stutton