Within the Baggy Beds at Baggy Point, layers of sandy deposits yield corals, bryozoans, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. However, these deposits can sometimes be hard to find and the fossils are poorly preserved.
♦ Croyde and Baggy Point can be reached by parking at the National Trust, Baggy Point car park along the coast from Croyde. This is a very busy tourist location, especially in the summer. However, there are several other car parks if this one is full.
♦ The car park is easy to find and is about half way up the large hill. From here, walk back down the road for a bit and you will then see a cutting beside two houses, where a short footpath will take you directly to the Baggy Beds.
♦ This location is suitable for families with children and is also a major tourist beach.
♦ Ref: 51.13474°N, 4.24216°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦ – To find fossils, you need to locate ‘pockets’ of fossils (see below) and these can be hard to find. Fossils are poorly preserved and are very fragile.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – This location is suitable for families with children and is also a major tourist beach.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – There is an excellent car park with toilets and a cafe, and it is a very short walk to the beach. This is also a major tourist location.
TYPE: – Rocky outcrops can be seen along the foreshore, which contain ‘pockets’ of fossils. It may take some time to locate these, but when you do, there are usually several fossils to be found. Note that this site is an SSSI. Therefore, do not hammer on the bedrock or cliffs. However, you may collect from any loose material.
This site, approximately 6 miles NW of Barnstaple, on the North Coast of Devon, comprises the headland of Baggy Point with the northern and southern margins of Croyde Bay.
Fossils from the Baggy Beds are generally quite rare but this tends to be because they are very difficult to see rather than being absent. There are a few gritty pockets of shells among the slate, which are packed with bivalves, gastropods, seeds and other plant fragments (Sphenopteridium rigidum, Xenotheca devonica, Shenopteris, Telangium, Cordaites and Knorria), and occasional corals.
The slate is very hard and does not spit well and its fossils are poorly preserved. The rocks at Croyde continue to Baggy Point and from here to Woolacombe. Look out for patchy gritty brown coloured areas and look very carefully for shells. The trace fossils Teichichnus, Monocraterion, Tentaculatum, Arebucikutes curvatus and Diplocraterion yoyo can also be found.
Heading towards Woolacombe, the beds begin to change and a tuff band can clearly be seen. Within this layer, armoured fish fragments have been found, including Holonema cf ornatum, Holoptychius, Coccosteus, Polyplocodus and Bothriolepis.
The geology from Saunton to Baggy Point, including Croyde Bay comprises a mixture of sandstones, shales / slates, siltstones and thin limestones of Upper Devonian age, which were deposited in either a marine dominated environment to brackish and even non-marine depositional setting. Fossils are sparse. The varying facies suggest a changing deltaic succession.
Baggy Point is the type section for the Upper Devonian Baggy Sandstones Formation and exposes good sections of the Upcott Slates Formation and Pilton Mudstone Formation, both are of Famennian Age. At Baggy Point, thin crinoidal and gastropodal limestones can be seen with fossils of the brachiopod Lingula.
The Upcott Slates Formation comprise grey-green and purple slates and siltstones with scattered thin fine-grained sandstones.
Shallow-water, marine Baggy Sandstones Formation overlie these beds, interpreted as muddy shoreline deposits. The rocks form some 450m of sandstones and shales, with a few scattered thin limestones and form Baggy Point itself, along with a greater part of the headland.
The bulk of the succession comprises dark coloured mudstones and fine-grained sandstones. Groups of sandstones form the smaller headlands in the area and the fossiliferous fauna, includes Echinocaris sp., Lingula sp., and Cucullaea, all of which indicate a Famennian age.
The Pilton Mudstone Formation reflect the change from deltaic conditions to those of a shallow sea. The exposures at Baggy represent the lower Pilton Mudstone Formation and comprise grey shales with bands and lenses of fossiliferous limestone. As a whole, the Pilton Mudstone Formation yields a varied fauna in which brachiopods are numerous, especially Chonetes sauntonensis as well as bivalves, including Palaeoneilo and Prothyris.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used and prior knowledge of tide times is essential. The tide can easily cut you off at Baggy Point and the rocks are very slippery and dangerous, so suitable hard-gripping footwear should be worn. The rocks are also very hard to split and jagged fragments from a hammer blow could easily pierce the skin or get into eyes. Therefore, gloves and safety goggles should be worn if splitting the shale.
This site is an SSSI. This means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted. For full information about the reasons for the status of the site and restrictions please download the PDF from Natural England – SSSI Information – Croyde