A peaceful, secluded bay, a wonderful cliff-top walk and some impressive coal measures plants make Nolton Haven a very pleasant location at which to find fossils.
♦ Free parking can be found next to the Mariners Inn, opposite the bay. There is also a bus stop here.
♦ The cliffs and loose rocks at the side of the bay can be investigated to find wood impressions in sandstone and small pieces of coal.
♦ To view the best plant fossils, take the cliff top path that leads to the north. Along the way you will see some beautiful coastal features that help to make the Pembrokeshire coast line so special. Follow the path until you see a rock formation that can only be described as looking like the cartoon dog ‘Snoopy’s head (aka Rickets Head). Below this there are large sandstone and shale boulders on the surface of which plant fossils can be observed♦ Ref: 51.82433°N, 5.10303°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – This location is an SSSI which means that fossils must not be collected from the large boulders and the cliffs. There are, however, many large and interesting plant fossils to be seen which should make up for this.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Fossils can be observed in the rocks of Nolton Haven Bay without much difficulty. The area to the north is harder to access, however. The path along the cliff top to the main fossil hunting area is not fenced and there is a long drop down to the rocks below.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – There is a free public car park next to the Mariners Inn at Nolton Haven. Nolton Haven Bay is situated just across the road from here and is easy to access. The walk to the main fossil hunting site takes you up and down cliff top paths and it can be a bit of a scramble to investigate the rocks at the location that the path leads to.
TYPE: – Plant fossils are found in large boulders and rocks at the base of the cliffs. In some places, veins of coal can be seen.
In the rocks of the bay various nondescript wood fossils can be seen. Small pieces of coal may also be found. In the main fossil hunting area that is reached by the cliff-top path you will see better quality, more recognizable plant fossils. The most common of these is Stigmaria ficoides. Look on the surface of the large boulders below ‘Snoopy’s head rock’. You should be able to find numerous large Stigmaria ficoides fossils here.
Also found in the rocks here are many fragments of smaller plants, packed into the shale. These are poorly preserved, however. Within the cliff here there is also a coal seam that is worth a look.
The geology is Carboniferous, Silesian, Westphalian 306 to 308 mya.
There are a few dangers at this site, with the unguarded cliff top path being the most serious. Children should be well supervised if they are taken along this route. Other dangers include being cut off by the tide in one or two places and slipping on sloping rocks. It may be hard to get a mobile signal at Nolton Haven, so be especially sure here to inform someone of where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
Most fossils at Nolton Haven can be collected from small boulders at the base of the cliff.
This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.