West Angle Bay is eroded out of Carboniferous Limestone Series rocks which are packed with crinoid fossils. It is an excellent location to take children to – there is a nice sandy beach, a café and public conveniences.
♦ Access the beach from the car park. It is probably advisable to investigate the north side of the bay first to observe the in situ fossils which cover much of the rock outcrops here. Fossils can not be collected on this side of the bay.
♦ When you have looked over the north side, head across the bay and look amongst the fallen boulders and cobbles for fossils. The rocks here alternate between crinoidal limestone and shales. Where a shale layer has been worn away from the limestone, many fossils can be seen standing out in relief from the limestone layer.♦ Ref: 51.68580°N, 5.10859°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Fossils are extremely abundant here. Most of the exposed rock strata on the north side of the bay are extremely fossiliferous – with crinoid fossils exposed over the majority their surfaces. On the south side of the bay there are many blocks of shale and limestone that also contain crinoid pieces in association with other types of fossils.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – An excellent location to visit with children. The beach is popular with holiday makers and there are numerous on site facilities such as a café and toilets.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦♦ – There is a free car park with plenty of room for many cars just behind the beach. The beach itself is accessed from the car park and the fossil hunting areas are no more than 200m away.
TYPE: – Fossils are found on the surfaces of large rock outcrops on the north side of the bay and can be observed in situ in the cliffs of the south side. Cobbles and boulders below the cliffs here also contain fossils.
Crinoid fossils are by far the most common finds at this location, in fact whole layers of rock here are packed with them.
The rock outcrops on the north side of the bay are composed largely of crinoidal limestone and plenty of impressive fossils can be observed on their surfaces.
On the south side of the bay blocks of crinoidal limestone can be found. These sometimes have very intricate and well preserved fossils exposed on their surfaces. Along with the crinoid fossils can be found bryzoa, corals and brachiopods.
Fossils can be found nearly everywhere at this location. Look on the north side of the bay for large outcrops of crinoidal limestone – please do not attempt to collect fossils from these.
On the south side of the bay look among the boulders and cobbles at the base of the cliffs for crinoidal limestone. Smaller pieces of this can be collected but please leave larger rocks as they are and do not deface or damage them. Likewise the cliff should not be collected from.
A few strata within the cliffs on the south side can be seen to be utterly packed with fossils. These are found about half way along the cliff section.
This is a fairly safe location. The bay is wide and there is no chance of getting cut off by the tide. Common sense should suffice at West Angle Bay.
Most fossils are found in the rock outcrops along the beach, but you will need a hammer to split these.
This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.