The Oxford Clay and Corallian Beds at Weymouth (Furzy Cliff and Redcliff Point) yield ammonites and the clay is particularly rich in reptile remains. Giant fossil oyster shells are also plentiful. These locations are best after scouring tides and/or rain, but, at these times, you will need wellington boots.
♦ Furzy Cliff can be approached from the car park along the A353 at Weymouth. Alternatively, both locations can be reached by walking along the beach from Bowleaze Cove in either direction (depending on where you want to go first).
♦ At the end of the sea defence, walking east, Furzy cliff is directly after the sea defence. However, Redcliff point is quite a walk from here.♦ Ref: 50.63340°N, 2.43113°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦ – Furzy Cliff yields few fossils, since the sea rarely washes the cliffs out. However, fossils are often found after heavy rain. They are also found at Redcliff Point, which the sea does often wash out, but these beds are not as productive.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – Weymouth is suitable for families. There is a car park, toilets, a cafe and a lovely beach.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – The two locations at Weymouth are easy to access. There is a short walk to either of the sites from Bowleaze Cove. Parking is near to toilets and a cafe, and is not far from the town centre.
TYPE: – Most fossils are found on the foreshore, but they can also be found washed out of the clay on the slippages, after rain.
These locations are part of the Jurassic World Heritage site, so hammering or digging in the cliff is not permitted.
At Fuzzy Cliff, it is best to collect fossils after heavy rain, as this often causes slippages. The sea rarely washes the cliff, but at Redcliff Point, the sea does regularly wash the cliffs, so you have a better chance of finding something at this location. At either site, search the washed clay on the foreshore or search the areas of shingle.
At Furzy Cliff, the ammonite, Cardioceras, can be found along with oysters (Gryphaea dilatata and Lopha). Ichthyosaur, crocodile and crustacean remains have also been reported, but the sea rarely washes these cliffs out anymore, so collecting is best done after heavy rain. At Redcliff point, pyritised ammonites of the Mariae Zone can be found.
At Furzy Cliff, 45m of Upper Oxford Clay is exposed. However, this tends to be badly slipped and it is very difficult to pin-point any particular beds. The cliffs are rarely washed out, so heavy rain is usually required for any chance of finding fossils.
Walking further East to Redcliff Point, a full succession of Corallian Beds can be seen. In addition, the Upper Oxford Clay is well exposed here and contains pyritised ammonites from the Mariae Zone.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used and prior knowledge of tide times is essential. However, Furzy Cliff is rarely washed out by the sea and, as the sea defence is just west of the cliff, there is little danger here. However, the danger of being cut off from the tide at Redcliff Point should be noted.
A pick and/or knife are best at this location. Hammers may be required if looking at the Corallian Beds at Redcliff Point, but most fossils are found in the Oxford Clay at either location. Suitable footwear should be worn, especially after heavy rain. Simple containers and small bags can be taken to transport fossils, which can be cleaned of residual clay at home.
This site is an SSSI and forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast. 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 – South Dorset