Freshwater East

East side of the bay

Freshwater East bay is a great location for the whole family. The sandy beach is ideal for children and as it is so large it is unlikely to become crowded even in the height of summer. Fossils are fairly abundant and are easy to find.


♦ There is a pay and display public car park at Freshwater East, close to the bay.
♦ Across the road from here can be found a path to the beach. There are also public conveniences.
♦ A walk of less than 100m takes you to the head of the beach.♦ Ref: 51.64570°N, 4.86412°W


FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – A few boulders on the west side of the bay contain Silurian fossils. Pebbles and cobbles near the stream can be investigated in search of Carboniferous brachiopods and corals.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – This location is an excellent one to take the whole family to. There is large, sandy beach that kids will love as well as a stream and the clear blue Pembrokeshire sea to paddle in.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Parking is within a short distance of the beach. There are no access restrictions.
TYPE: – Fossils are found within rocks transported by the stream. These are spread over a fairly wide area.


Carboniferous rocks were brought to this part of the coast by glaciers and are now transported by the stream across the beach during high discharge events. The rocks are spread out by the tides and contain fossil corals, crinoid pieces and brachiopods.

Boulders at the base of the cliffs on the west side of the bay occasionally contain Silurian fossils which can be observed where bedding planes are revealed or where erosion has cut across them.

Occasional trace fossils can also be found here. Fossils are most abundant within rocks carried by the stream. These are spread out over a large area of the west side of the beach.

Boulders and large cobbles of dark grey or black limestone contain abundant brachiopod fossils but it is hard to find good quality specimens.

Lighter grey rocks contain corals and crinoid stem parts. The corals are the best quality fossils to be found at this location.

Beneath the cliffs on the west side of the bay, occasional Silurian fossils can be observed on the bedding planes of boulders.

Coral in pebble 2


This site is Silurian (Ludlow), Ordovician (Llanvirn) and Devonian (Lower Old Red Sandstone) in age. The rocks brought to the beach by the stream are in Carboniferous limestone.

Rocks of the Gray Sandstone Group (shallow marine sandstones) are the oldest exposed, visible in cliff in south-western corner of bay (adjacent to dunes) and in wavecut platform and small stacks at the northern end of the beach.

Conglomerates of the Freshwater East Formation are also visible on both sides of the bay, as are the suceeding Moor Cliffs Formation (sandstones, siltstones, mudstones & calcretes), although quality of exposure is poor on south side. These formations both belong to the Old Red Sandstone sequence.

All these rocks are of late Silurian age, including the ORS rocks as they lie ‘below’ (bedding is near vertical on northern limb of Freshwater East Anticline) the Townsend Tuff (which marks the Silurian/Devonian boundary. The Townsend Tuff is exposed on the southern side of Trewent Point (on the less steeply dipping sothern limb of the anticline) but access along foreshore at low tide or by scrambling down cliff is difficult and dangerous.


This is a very safe location. The beach is flat and sandy and there is practically no chance of getting cut off by the tide. An ideal location to take children to.


Fossils at Freshwater East can be collected from pebbles on the foreshore.


This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.

It is important to follow our ‘Code of Conduct’ when collecting fossils or visiting any site. Please also read our ‘Terms and Conditions


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