The volcanic rocks at Kinghorn are sedimentary from the Carboniferous, with interbedded pyroclastic rocks and basalt flows. Corals and shells can be found within these rocks.


♦ From the A291, take the road through Kinghorn and follow it all the way to the harbour.
♦ There is a car park right at the end, with views across the bay.
♦ From here, walk west to the opposite side of the bay, where a small cliff section can be seen.
♦ Ref: 56.06246°N, 3.18106°W


FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – Although the fossils can be poorly preserved at this location, there are plenty to be found, with the rocks being full of corals and shells.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Kinghorn is ideal for families. It is near to shops, with excellent parking facilities. As well as the fossils, the beach is ideal for children.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – Kinghorn has excellent access to the beach. You do not have to walk far and there is a car park at the harbour.
TYPE: – Fossil corals are mostly found in the rocks on the foreshore, but can also be seen in the cliff face.


You can find corals and bivalves at Kinghorn. The corals are very small and are best seen on the surface of the beds. Once you are used to the rocks, you can use a pick to break them apart to extract the corals.

At the opposite side of the bay from the harbour at Kinghorn, the rocks are well exposed on the foreshore and in a cliff section. They are also very soft, so a pick is ideal. First of all, scan the surface looking for shells and corals. These tend to be in pockets, so if you find one coral, use your pick to search the rock surrounding it for more.


The rocks here are from the Strathclyde Group from the Lower Carboniferous (Dinantian).

To the south of the town, the Kinghorn Volcanic Formation, basaltic Tuff and basaltic lava occurs, which was formed 326 to 335 million years ago. They consist of sequences of basalt lava flows, pyroclastic rocks and interbedded minor sedimentary rocks.

Proceeding northwards towards the town and at Hummel Rocks, an exposure of Sandy Craig Formation is found. The rock is from the Strathclyde Group, formed 326 to 335 Mya. The Kinghorn Volcanic Formation resumes northwards until the Pathhead Formation, a sedimentary bedrock formed 326 to 331 Mya, crops out, along with St. Monans White Limestone (formed at a similar time).



Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used and prior knowledge of tide times is essential. You can get easily cut off by the tide, so ensure you return in good time.


The rocks are soft and crumble very easily. Picks are ideal to break apart the volcanic bed in which the fossils can be found.


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

6a4bfbf50b99eb839741fb99dca95014f77f693a_hq.jpgScotland’s fossil resource is at risk of abuse and damage, and so we must all safeguard and managed fossil collecting to ensure its survival for future generations. For this reason it is VITAL you read and adhere to the Scottish Fossil Code for ALL sites in Scotland. 

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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