Penarth is the most popular location in Wales for fossil collectors. This is down to both the site being very rich in fossils, together being a major built up area. This site can be over collected but you still should come home with some finds.
♦ Head towards the seafront, and along this road, you will see the pier.
♦ There is plenty of parking along the Esplanade, and access to the shore is very easy and quick.
♦ Start from Penarth Pier and walk along the beach towards Cardiff Barrage. You can get all the way to the barrage along the beach. Fossils can be found right along this stretch.
♦ For people who don’t have cars, you can get to the village of Penarth via train or bus.♦ Ref: 51.43447°N, 3.16628°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – There are plenty of fossils to be found at Penarth, and indeed, this is one of Wales most popular fossil location! Because of this, it can be a little over-collected, but still well worth the visit.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Penarth is suitable for family trips and children. Toilets, food and drink can all be found here. There is also plenty to do for children. Please keep children away from the cliffs as these are dangerous.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Car parking along the sea front with toilets, cafe etc, and a very short walk to the beach. Penarth has very good access, and the pier does food such as fish and chips.
TYPE: – Fossils are mostly found in the rocks along the foreshore but can also be found in the cliff face and also in the scree slopes. The cliffs are too dangerious to collect from, so please stick to the foreshore boulders and shale.
Penarth is one of the most popular locations in Wales for collecting, this is because the beds here are rich in fossils, and the constant erosion of the cliffs, scatteres fossils along the foreshore.
Being a major tourist location, it is also not surprising why so many people collect here, and perhaps the site is a little over collected. However, what is nice about Penarth, is that you can stroll the foreshore and collect fossil shells such as bivalves, gastropods and brachiopods, and also collect ammonites. With easy parking and easy access, this site is ideal for all the family. You don’t need any tools, all you need is a good eye. Search the pebbles and boulders along the foreshore.
The Jurassic rocks at Penarth are lower lias similar to those of Watchet which of course it just across the Bristol Channel. These are early blue lias, but the fossils differ from those of Watchet with a higher number of gastropods, bivalves and brachiopods dominating the rocks, and being of a larger size. The ammonites tend to be smaller and less common than across the Bristol Channel at Watchet.
The Triassic red cliffs are mostly the Mercia Mudstone Group of the Sully Beds and are unfossilferous. At the top of this bed and below the Jurassic lower lias, is the Rhaetian Penarth Group. This bed is recognised by Grey to black mudstones with subordinate limestones and sandstones; predominantly marine in origin.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be taken and knowledge of tide times should always be noted. The cliffs at Penarth are extremely high and cliff falls are frequently occurring along this coast. The cliffs are constantly crumbling, so please keep WELL AWAY! Please keep clear of the cliffs and if you are searching below the cliffs, ensure that you wear a hard hat.
Take a hammer, chisel and safety glasses, since many of the fossils are in large boulders and slabs on the foreshore. However these are not essential, because fossils can also simply be picked up off the foreshore.
This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.