Marloes Sands is a stunningly beautiful location managed by the National Trust. The scenery is fantastic, the geology is breath-taking and there are many fossils to find, including corals, brachiopods, trilobites and much more.
♦ Parking can be found at the Marloes Sands National Trust carpark, where you can pay at a manned booth. The attendant is happy to provide information on the location, as well as an informative leaflet.
♦ From the car park, walk to your left along the road and, after about one hundred metres, you will come across a sign pointing to the right, which reads ‘Beach 700m’. Follow this downhill and you will reach the beach.
♦ Many of the rock layers at Marloes Sands are barren, but when the fossiliferous ones are located, you should be able to observe many in situ fossils and also collect from areas of scree.
♦ Ref: 51.73625°N, 5.20926°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Like much of the Pembrokeshire coastline, this location is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). This means that the cliffs and larger rocks must not be damaged. However, there is plenty of scree to look through, so finds should still be plentiful. Fossils can also be observed in situ.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – There is something for everyone to do at Marloes Sands. There is a massive sandy beach with crystal-clear water and many rock pools for kids to enjoy, as well as beautiful scenery, geology and fossils for the adults. The location is an ideal one for a weekend picnic.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – There is plenty of parking at the Marloes Sands National Trust car park. From here, there is an 800m walk down to the beach. Once on the beach, there is a huge area to explore.
TYPE: – Once the right rock layers are found, fossils can be observed in situ or can be collected from the large amounts of scree present.
Most fossils at Marloes Sands can be collected from scree at the base of the cliff and there is quite a variety of fossils to be found. These include brachiopods, corals, bivalves, trilobites, cephalopods and more. Perhaps of most interest are the fossil corals, which are both plentiful and diverse. Many look like pieces of charcoal with a fine ‘gilled’ internal structure. This internal structure soon crumbles away and leaves an impression of the gross morphology of the coral.
The two most productive fossiliferous areas are both to the southeast of the path to the beach. Head this way when you reach the beach and stop when you see another path that descends downwards from the cliff top. If you look at the rocks that make up the base of the cliff here, you should be able to find fossils.
The second fossiliferous area is further along the beach, perhaps 300m away from the first. Here, the layers in the cliffs are virtually perpendicular and composed of a flaky shale. Many fossils can be observed in situ in these rocks and some can be collected in the scree nearby.
The geology is Silurian from the Gorstian Stage (421 to 423mya).
Marloes Sands is a generally safe location. However, as with all coastal sites with cliffs, care must be taken to avoid falling debris and the possibility of being cut off by the tide.
Most fossils at Marloes Sands can be collected from scree at the base of the cliff, so specialist equipment is not required. However, a camera will allow you to record the fossils you see in situ. Hammering the bedrock is not allowed.
This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.