Lydstep Headland

View of the coastline from the cliff top

Good quality coral fossils are abundant within the rocks at this beautiful little cove. Most cannot be collected however as they are found within the limestone cliffs and on the surfaces of large boulders.


♦ There is a free National Trust car park at Lydstep Headland. This can be hard to find. To reach it turn down a small, badly kept road that heads South from the village of Lydstep.
♦ After a couple of hundred meters you will find yourself next to a new static caravan facility. There is a turning to your right opposite this which you should take to reach the car park.
♦ From the car park, walk to your right when facing towards the sea. Follow the path a short distance and then descend the steps down to the back of the cove. Fossils can be found immediately.♦ Ref: 51.64699°N, 4.76185°W


FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Coral fossils are everywhere – within the cliffs, on the surfaces of boulders, in pebbles and cobbles washed by the sea. It is very easy to find fossils here.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – This location is suitable for children, but they should be well supervised as there are large boulders and rock overhangs.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – It can be a little tricky to find the National Trust car park but once there, the walk is short, along a well maintained path to reach the cove. The descent down to the location should not prove too difficult for most. The cove itself is rocky in places.
TYPE: – Fossils can be found within the limestone cliffs and boulders here. They are also present within the pebbles at the base of the beach.


Corals are by far the most common fossils to be found here and can be observed practically anywhere on the surfaces of the cliffs and boulders. Crinoid, gastropod and brachiopod fossils are present but less abundant.

Corals and crinoid pieces can be found on the surfaces of pebbles. Look over the in situ limestone of the cliff faces and also the large boulders for corals and other fossils.

Where the sea washes the pebbles at the mouth of the cove, check the stones for coral and crinoid fossils. These show up much better when wet. Please do not attempt to extract fossils from cliffs or boulders.

Gastropod or gonatite


The geology is Carboniferous, Chadian 340 to 344 mya.

Limestone at the back of the bay


Be careful not to stand under overhanging parts of the cliff. Mobile phone signals are likely to be lost at this location so be sure to tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return. As the cove is so small and the path leads into it there is little chance of becoming cut off by the tide. Take care when climbing over boulders.


Most fossils at Lydstep Headland can be collected from the foreshore within the loose shale. Please do not hammer 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.

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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