The magnificent tall Jurassic cliffs at Saltburn yield ammonites, belemnites, brachiopods and bivalves from the Cleveland Ironstone of the Lower Lias. The rocks here, however can be very hard and difficult to collect from.
♦ Saltburn-by-the-sea can be reached from the A174. From here there is a roundabout which will take you into the town.
♦ Follow all the way through towards the seafront. You can park on the North-West of the river and then walk east over the river bridge to access the cliffs on the South-Eastern side of the town.
♦ You cannot miss the cliffs as they are very tall and can be seen from the river. Take extra care since cliff falls are frequent and make sure you double-check tide times.
♦ Ref: 54.58600°N, 0.97070°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – Fossils are quite common at Saltburn, you are more likely to find belemnites and bivalves, but ammonites can occasionally be found. Some of the rocks are very hard and so you will need a good hammer to get these out.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – The tall cliffs are very dangerous and cliff falls are regular. Also, there are many rocks on the beach making access difficult. We therefore only recommend that older children visit this site, providing they keep well away from the base of the cliff.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – An excellent car park with toliets, cafe etc neaby. There is a fair walk to get to the cliffs as you have to cross the river over the road bridge, but in general access is easy.
TYPE: – Most fossils can be found in the boulders and rocks on the foreshore. You may need a hammer to get these out. Fossils can also be found in the cliff scree slopes, but this is too dangerous to collect from.
The best place to find fossils is by looking at the rocks along the foreshore. The most common find at Saltburn is belemnites. There are some superb, well preserved and often complete specimens to be collected here.
Blocks of sandstone full of brachiopods can also be seen in complete layers. It is easy to take a nice sample home. Worm tubes and bivalves are also quite common here.
Saltburn is also well known for ammonites, but these are less common here than the classic jurassic sites of Yorkshire. The ammonites from from the Cleveland Ironstone.
At Saltburn, the main rock formation is the Cleveland Ironstone Formation is a sequence of marine ironstone seams interbedded with shale and siltstone which collectively forming a part of the Lower Jurassic rocks underlying both Cleveland and North Yorkshire.
Exploitation of the ironstone seams became a major driving force behind the industrialisation of the Teeside district during the mid- to late-1800s.
The strata are highly fossiliferous and belong to the Upper Pliensbachian of the Lias Group.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be taken and knowledge of tide times should always be noted. The tide can easily cut you off at Saltburn so please double check tide times. The cliffs are also very tall and can fall at any time, please keep away from the base of the cliff. Take care when passing over the large boulders.
A good strong hammer is required and chisel. googles and suitable footwear should be used. The rocks here can be very hard, it may be a good idea to sharpen hammers before any visit to Saltburn. Some of the fossils are well preserved in blocks, so these can easily be wrapped and placed into bags. Worm tubes are also quite hard and so are the ammonites. Belemnites are more fragile we we suggest wrapping them well and placing into field specimen boxes.
There are no restrictions at this location, you are free to collect fossils and hammer the rocks.